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Morio Matsumoto, Yoshiaki Toyama, Hirotaka Chikuda, Katsushi Takeshita, Tsuyoshi Kato, Shigeo Shindo, Kuniyoshi Abumi, Masahiko Takahata, Yutaka Nohara, Hiroshi Taneichi, Katsuro Tomita, Norio Kawahara, Shiro Imagama, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Masashi Yamazaki, and Akihiko Okawa

Object

The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of fusion surgery in patients with ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament in the thoracic spine (T-OPLL) and to identify factors significantly related to surgical outcomes.

Methods

The study included 76 patients (34 men and 42 women with a mean age of 56.3 years) who underwent fusion surgery for T-OPLL at 7 spine centers during the 5-year period from 2003 to 2007. The authors evaluated the patient demographic data, underlying disease, preoperative comorbidities, history of spinal surgery, radiological findings, surgical methods, surgical outcomes, and complications. Surgical outcomes were assessed using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scale score for thoracic myelopathy (11 points) and the recovery rate.

Results

The mean JOA scale score was 4.6 ± 2.1 points preoperatively and 7.7 ± 2.5 points at the time of the final follow-up examination, yielding a mean recovery rate of 45.4% ± 39.1%. The recovery rates by surgical method were 38.5% ± 37.8% for posterior decompression and fusion, 65.0% ± 35.6% for anterior decompression and fusion via an anterior approach, 28.8% ± 41.2% for anterior decompression via a posterior approach, and 57.5% ± 41.1% for circumferential decompression and fusion. The recovery rate was significantly higher in patients without diabetes mellitus (DM) than in those with DM. One or more complications were experienced by 31 patients (40.8%), including 20 patients with postoperative neurological deterioration, 7 with dural tears, 5 with epidural hematomas, 4 with respiratory complications, and 10 with other complications.

Conclusions

The outcomes of fusion surgery for T-OPLL were favorable. The absence of DM correlated with better outcomes. However, a high rate of complications was associated with the fusion surgery.

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Takaki Inoue, Satoshi Maki, Toshitaka Yoshii, Takeo Furuya, Satoru Egawa, Kenichiro Sakai, Kazuo Kusano, Yukihiro Nakagawa, Takashi Hirai, Kanichiro Wada, Keiichi Katsumi, Kengo Fujii, Atsushi Kimura, Narihito Nagoshi, Tsukasa Kanchiku, Yukitaka Nagamoto, Yasushi Oshima, Kei Ando, Masahiko Takahata, Kanji Mori, Hideaki Nakajima, Kazuma Murata, Shunji Matsunaga, Takashi Kaito, Kei Yamada, Sho Kobayashi, Satoshi Kato, Tetsuro Ohba, Satoshi Inami, Shunsuke Fujibayashi, Hiroyuki Katoh, Haruo Kanno, Shiro Imagama, Masao Koda, Yoshiharu Kawaguchi, Katsushi Takeshita, Morio Matsumoto, Seiji Ohtori, Masashi Yamazaki, Atsushi Okawa, and

OBJECTIVE

It is unclear whether anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ADF) or laminoplasty (LMP) results in better outcomes for patients with K-line–positive (+) cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL). The purpose of the study is to compare surgical outcomes and complications of ADF versus LMP in patients with K-line (+) OPLL.

METHODS

The study included 478 patients enrolled in the Japanese Multicenter Research Organization for Ossification of the Spinal Ligament and who underwent surgical treatment for cervical OPLL. The patients who underwent anterior-posterior combined surgery or posterior decompression with instrumented fusion were excluded. The patients with a follow-up period of fewer than 2 years were also excluded, leaving 198 patients with K-line (+) OPLL. Propensity score matching was performed on 198 patients with K-line (+) OPLL who underwent ADF (44 patients) or LMP (154 patients), resulting in 39 pairs of patients based on the following predictors for surgical outcomes: age, preoperative Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score, C2–7 angle, and the occupying ratio of OPLL. Clinical outcomes were assessed 1 and 2 years after surgery using the recovery rate of the JOA score. Complications and reoperation rates were also investigated.

RESULTS

The mean recovery rate of the JOA score 1 year after surgery was 55.3% for patients who underwent ADF and 42.3% (p = 0.06) for patients who underwent LMP. Two years after surgery, the recovery rate was 53.4% for those who underwent ADF and 38.7% for LMP (p = 0.07). Although both surgical procedures yielded good results, the mean recovery rate of JOA scores tended to be higher in the ADF group. The incidence of surgical complications, however, was higher following ADF (33%) than LMP (15%; p = 0.06). The reoperation rate was also higher in the ADF group (15%) than in the LMP group (0%; p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Clinical outcomes were good for both ADF and LMP, indicating that ADF and LMP are appropriate procedures for patients with K-line (+) OPLL. Clinical outcomes of ADF 1 and 2 years after surgery tended to be better than LMP, but the analysis did not detect any significant difference in clinical outcomes between the groups. Conversely, patients who underwent ADF had a higher incidence of surgery-related complications. When considering indications for ADF or LMP, benefits and risks of the surgical procedures should be carefully weighed.