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Masayoshi Iwamae, Akinobu Suzuki, Koji Tamai, Hidetomi Terai, Masatoshi Hoshino, Hiromitsu Toyoda, Shinji Takahashi, Shoichiro Ohyama, Yusuke Hori, Akito Yabu, and Hiroaki Nakamura

OBJECTIVE

Although numbness is one of the chief complaints of patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), preoperative factors relating to residual numbness of the upper extremity (UE) and impact of the outcomes on cervical surgery are not well established. The authors hypothesized that severe preoperative UE numbness could be a risk factor for residual UE numbness after surgery and that the residual UE numbness could have a negative impact on postoperative outcomes. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the preoperative factors that are predictive of residual UE numbness after cervical surgery and demonstrate the effects of residual UE numbness on clinical scores and radiographic parameters.

METHODS

The study design was a retrospective cohort study. The authors analyzed data of 103 patients who underwent cervical laminoplasty from January 2012 to December 2014 and were followed up for more than 2 years postoperatively. The patients were divided into two groups: the severe residual-numbness group (postoperative visual analog scale [VAS] score for UE numbness > 40 mm) and the no/mild residual-numbness group (VAS score ≤ 40 mm). The outcome measures were VAS score, Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores for cervical myelopathy, physical and mental component summaries of the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), radiographic film parameters (C2–7 sagittal vertical axis, range of motion, C2–7 lordotic angle, and C7 slope), and MRI findings (severity of cervical canal stenosis, snake-eye appearance, severity of foraminal stenosis). Following univariate analysis, which compared the preoperative factors between groups, the variables with p values < 0.1 were included in the multivariate linear regression analysis. Additionally, the changes in clinical scores and radiographic parameters after 2 years of surgery were compared using a mixed-effects model.

RESULTS

Among 103 patients, 42 (40.8%) had residual UE numbness. In the multivariate analysis, sex and preoperative UE pain were found to be independent variables correlating with residual UE numbness (p = 0.017 and 0.046, respectively). The severity of preoperative UE numbness did not relate to the residual UE numbness (p = 0.153). The improvement in neck pain VAS score and physical component summary of the SF-36 was significantly low in the severe residual-numbness group (p < 0.001 and 0.040, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Forty-one percent of the CSM patients experienced residual UE numbness for at least 2 years after cervical posterior decompression surgery. Female sex and preoperative severe UE pain were the predictive factors for residual UE numbness. The patients with residual UE numbness showed less improvement of neck pain and lower physical status compared to the patients without numbness.

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Hamidullah Salimi, Hiromitsu Toyoda, Kentaro Yamada, Hidetomi Terai, Masatoshi Hoshino, Akinobu Suzuki, Shinji Takahashi, Koji Tamai, Yusuke Hori, Akito Yabu, and Hiroaki Nakamura

OBJECTIVE

Several studies have examined the relationship between sagittal spinopelvic alignment and clinical outcomes after spinal surgery. However, the long-term reciprocal changes in sagittal spinopelvic alignment in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis after decompression surgery remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate radiographic changes in sagittal spinopelvic alignment and clinical outcomes at the 2-year and 5-year follow-ups after minimally invasive lumbar decompression surgery.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively studied the medical records of 110 patients who underwent bilateral decompression via a unilateral approach for lumbar spinal stenosis. Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) and visual analog scale (VAS) scores for low-back pain (LBP), leg pain, leg numbness, and spinopelvic parameters were evaluated before surgery and at the 2-year and 5-year follow-ups. Sagittal malalignment was defined as a sagittal vertical axis (SVA) ≥ 50 mm.

RESULTS

Compared with baseline, lumbar lordosis significantly increased after decompression surgery at the 2-year (30.2° vs 38.5°, respectively; p < 0.001) and 5-year (30.2° vs 35.7°, respectively; p < 0.001) follow-ups. SVA significantly decreased at the 2-year follow-up compared with baseline (36.1 mm vs 51.5 mm, respectively; p < 0.001). However, there was no difference in SVA at the 5-year follow-up compared with baseline (50.6 mm vs 51.5 mm, respectively; p = 0.812). At the 5-year follow-up, 82.5% of patients with preoperative normal alignment maintained normal alignment, whereas 42.6% of patients with preoperative malalignment developed normal alignment. Preoperative sagittal malalignment was associated with the VAS score for LBP at baseline and 2-year and 5-year follow-ups and the JOA score at the 5-year follow-up. Postoperative sagittal malalignment was associated with the VAS score for LBP at the 2-year and 5-year follow-ups and the VAS score for leg pain at the 5-year follow-up. There was a trend toward deterioration in clinical outcomes in patients with persistent postural malalignment compared with other patients.

CONCLUSIONS

After minimally invasive surgery, spinal sagittal malalignment can convert to normal alignment at both short-term and long-term follow-ups. Sagittal malalignment has a negative impact on the VAS score for LBP and a weakly negative impact on the JOA score after decompression surgery.