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.
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.
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.
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.