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Atsushi Seichi, Hirotaka Chikuda, Atsushi Kimura, Katsushi Takeshita, Shurei Sugita, Yuichi Hoshino, and Kozo Nakamura

Object

The aim in this prospective study was to determine the morphological limitations of laminoplasty for cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) by using intraoperative ultrasonography and to investigate correlations between ultrasonographic findings and 2-year follow-up results.

Methods

Included in this study were 40 patients who underwent double-door laminoplasty for cervical myelopathy due to OPLL. Intraoperative ultrasonography was used to evaluate posterior shift of the spinal cord after the posterior decompression procedure. To determine the decompression status of the cord, the authors classified ultrasonographic findings into 3 types on the basis of the presence or absence of spinal cord contact with OPLL after decompression: Type 1, noncontact; Type 2, contact and apart; and Type 3, contact. Patients were divided accordingly into Group 1, showing Type 1 or 2 findings, representing sufficient decompression; and Group 2, showing Type 3 findings with insufficient decompression. Preoperative sagittal alignment of the cervical spine (C2–7 angle) and preoperative maximal thickness of OPLL were compared between groups. The authors also investigated the morphological limitations of laminoplasty and 2-year follow-up results by using the Japanese Orthopedic Association (JOA) scoring system.

Results

According to receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, an OPLL maximal thickness > 7.2 mm was a cutoff value for insufficient decompression. However, sufficient or insufficient decompression did not correlate with 2-year results, as determined by JOA scores. The C2–7 angle had no impact on ultrasonographic findings.

Conclusions

Laminoplasty has a morphological limitation for thick OPLLs, and a thickness > 7.2 mm represents a theoretical cutoff for residual cord compression after laminoplasty. According to 2-year results, however, laminoplasty can remain the first choice for any type of multiple-level OPLL.

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Motoaki Murakami, Atsushi Seichi, Hirotaka Chikuda, Katsushi Takeshita, Kozo Nakamura, and Atsushi Kimura

The authors report the case of a man with cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) who was observed for more than 26 years. Initial symptoms consisted of subtle numbness of the hands, and initial radiography showed small, segmental-type OPLL in the cervical spine. Lateral radiography of the cervical spine was performed every few years. Ossification accelerated for about 4 years during the follow-up. Segmental-type OPLL developed into mixed-type extensive OPLL. This case shows an accelerating maturation process of OPLL over the course of a few years. Segmental-type OPLL appears to represent an initial stage of extensive OPLL.

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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.