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Zihao Chen, Bin Liu, Jianwen Dong, Feng Feng, Ruiqiang Chen, Peigen Xie, Liangming Zhang and Limin Rong

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness and safety of anterior corpectomy and fusion (ACF) with laminoplasty for the treatment of patients diagnosed with cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL).

METHODS

The authors searched electronic databases for relevant studies that compared the use of ACF with laminoplasty for the treatment of patients with OPLL. Data extraction and quality assessment were conducted, and statistical software was used for data analysis. The random effects model was used if there was heterogeneity between studies; otherwise, the fixed effects model was used.

RESULTS

A total of 10 nonrandomized controlled studies involving 819 patients were included. Postoperative Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score (p = 0.02, 95% CI 0.30–2.81) was better in the ACF group than in the laminoplasty group. The recovery rate was superior in the ACF group for patients with an occupying ratio of OPLL of ≥ 60% (p < 0.00001, 95% CI 21.27–34.44) and for patients with kyphotic alignment (p < 0.00001, 95% CI 16.49–27.17). Data analysis also showed that the ACF group was associated with a higher incidence of complications (p = 0.02, 95% CI 1.08–2.59) and reoperations (p = 0.002, 95% CI 1.83–14.79), longer operation time (p = 0.01, 95% CI 17.72 –160.75), and more blood loss (p = 0.0004, 95% CI 42.22–148.45).

CONCLUSIONS

For patients with an occupying ratio ≥ 60% or with kyphotic cervical alignment, ACF appears to be the preferable treatment method. Nevertheless, laminoplasty seems to be effective and safe enough for patients with an occupying ratio < 60% or with adequate cervical lordosis. However, it must be emphasized that a surgical strategy should be made based on the individual patient. Further randomized controlled trials comparing the use of ACF with laminoplasty for the treatment of OPLL should be performed to make a more convincing conclusion.