The purpose of this study was to provide the first evidence for the influence of an ossified anterior longitudinal ligament (OALL) on the clinical features and surgical outcomes in an ossified ligamentum flavum (OLF) in the thoracic region.
Sixty-three patients who underwent surgery for a 1-level thoracic OLF were identified, and preoperative symptoms, severity of symptoms and myelopathy, disease duration, MR imaging and CT findings, surgical procedure, intraoperative findings, complications, and postoperative recovery were investigated in these patients. Entities of OALLs were found on sagittal CT images to be adjacent to or at the same vertebral level as the OLF were classified into 4 types: no discernible type (Type N), one-sided (Type O), discontinuous (Type D), and continuous (Type C).
The duration of symptoms was especially long for Types D and C OALLs. Patients with Type D OALLs had a significantly worse percentage of recovery, as well as worse preoperative JOA scores.
The authors' results showed that a Type D OALL had strong associations with preoperative severity of symptoms and surgical outcomes. These findings may allow surgeons to determine the severity of preoperative symptoms and the probable surgical outcomes from the OALL classifications. Moreover, surgery with instrumentation for Type D OALLs may produce better surgical outcomes.