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Hideaki Nakajima, Hiroyuki Kuroda, Shuji Watanabe, Kazuya Honjoh, and Akihiko Matsumine

OBJECTIVE

The pathomechanism of C5 palsy after cervical open-door laminoplasty is unknown despite the relatively common occurrence of this condition postoperatively. The aim of this study was to review clinical and imaging findings in patients with C5 palsy and to propose countermeasures for prevention of this complication.

METHODS

Between 2001 and 2018, 326 patients with cervical myelopathy underwent cervical laminoplasty at the authors’ hospital, 10 (3.1%) of whom developed C5 palsy. Clinical features and radiological findings of patients with and without C5 palsy were analyzed.

RESULTS

In patients with C5 palsy, the width of the C5 intervertebral foramen was narrower and the position of the bony gutter was wider beyond the medial part of the C5 facet joint. The distance between the lateral side of the spinal cord and bony gutter was significantly greater in patients with C5 palsy. Patient characteristics, disease, cervical alignment, spinal canal expansion rate, anterior protrusion of the C5 superior articular process, high-intensity area in the spinal cord on T2-weighted MR images, posterior shift of the spinal cord, and operative time did not differ significantly between patients with and without C5 palsy.

CONCLUSIONS

The position of the bony gutter may have a central role in the pathomechanism of postoperative C5 palsy, especially in patients with a narrow C5 intervertebral foramen. Making an excessively lateral bony gutter might be a cause of C5 nerve root kinking at the intervertebral foramen. To prevent the occurrence of C5 palsy, it is important to confirm the medial line of the facet joint on the preoperative CT scan, and a high-speed burr should be started from inside of the facet joint and manipulated in a direction that allows the ligamentum flavum to be identified.

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Hideaki Nakajima, Kazuya Honjoh, Shuji Watanabe, Arisa Kubota, and Akihiko Matsumine

OBJECTIVE

The development of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) often requires further surgery after posterior decompression without fusion because of postoperative intervertebral instability. However, there is no information on whether fusion surgery is recommended for these patients as the standard surgery. The aim of this study was to review the clinical and imaging findings in lumbar spinal canal stenosis (LSS) patients with DISH affecting the lumbar segment (L-DISH) and to assess the indication for fusion surgery in patients with DISH.

METHODS

A total of 237 patients with LSS underwent 1- or 2-level posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) at the authors’ hospital and had a minimum follow-up period of 2 years. Patients with L-DISH were classified as such (n = 27, 11.4%), whereas those without were classified as controls (non-L-DISH; n = 210, 88.6%). The success rates of short-level PLIF were compared in patients with and those without L-DISH. The rates of adjacent segment disease (ASD), pseudarthrosis, postoperative symptoms, and revision surgery were examined in the two groups.

RESULTS

L-DISH from L2 to L4 correlated significantly with early-onset ASD, pseudarthrosis, and the appearance of postsurgical symptoms, especially at a lower segment and one distance from the segment adjacent to L-DISH, which were associated with the worst clinical outcome. Significantly higher percentages of L-DISH patients developed ASD and pseudarthrosis than those in the non-L-DISH group (40.7% vs 4.8% and 29.6% vs 2.4%, respectively). Of those patients with ASD and/or pseudarthrosis, 69.2% were symptomatic and 11.1% underwent revision surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

The results highlighted the negative impact of short-level PLIF surgery for patients with L-DISH. Increased mechanical stress below the fused segment was considered the reason for the poor clinical outcome.

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Hideaki Nakajima, Kenzo Uchida, Kazuya Honjoh, Takumi Sakamoto, Makoto Kitade, and Hisatoshi Baba

OBJECT

Low lumbar osteoporotic vertebral collapse (OVC) has not been well documented compared with OVC of the thoracolumbar spine. The differences between low lumbar and thoracolumbar lesions should be studied to provide better treatment. The aim of this study was to clarify the clinical and imaging features as well as outcomes of low lumbar OVC and to discuss the appropriate surgical treatment.

METHODS

Thirty patients (10 men; 20 women; mean age 79.3 ± 4.7 years [range 70–88 years]) with low lumbar OVC affecting levels below L-3 underwent surgical treatment. The clinical symptoms, morphological features of affected vertebra, sagittal spinopelvic alignment, neurological status before and after surgery, and surgical procedures were reviewed at a mean follow-up period of 2.4 years.

RESULTS

The main clinical symptom was radicular leg pain. Most patients had old compression fractures at the thoracolumbar level. The affected vertebra was flat-type and concave or H-shaped type, not wedge type as often found in thoracolumbar OVC. There were mismatches between pelvic incidence and lumbar lordosis on plain radiographs. On CT and MR images, foraminal stenosis was seen in 18 patients (60%) and canal stenosis in 24 patients (80%). Decompression with short fusion using a posterior approach was performed. Augmentations of vertebroplasty, posterolateral fusion, and posterior lumbar interbody fusion were performed based on the presence/absence of local kyphosis of lumbar spine, cleft formation, and/or intervertebral instability. Although the neurological and visual analog scale scores improved postoperatively, 8 patients (26.7%) developed postoperative complications mainly related to instrumentation failure. In patients with postoperative complications, lumbar spine bone mineral density was significantly low, but the spinopelvic alignment showed no correlation when compared with those without complications.

CONCLUSIONS

The main types of low lumbar OVC were flat-type and concave type, which resulted in neurological symptoms by retropulsed bony fragments generating foraminal stenosis and/or canal stenosis. For patients with low lumbar OVC, decompression of the foraminal and canal stenosis with short fusion surgery via posterior approach can improve neurological symptoms. Since these patients are elderly with poor bone quality and other complications, treatments for both OVC and osteoporosis should be provided to achieve good clinical outcome.

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Shigeru Kobayashi, Erisa Sabakaki Mwaka, Hisatoshi Baba, Yasuo Kokubo, Takafumi Yayama, Masafumi Kubota, Hideaki Nakajima, and Adam Meir

Object

The dorsal root ganglion (DRG) should not be overlooked when considering the mechanism of low-back pain and sciatica, so it is important to understand the morphological features of the vascular system supplying the DRG. However, the neurogenic control of intraganglionic blood flow has received little attention in the past. The authors used an immunohistochemical technique to investigate the presence and distribution of autonomic and sensory nerves in blood vessels of the DRG.

Methods

Ten Wistar rats were used. To investigate the mechanism of vasomotion on the lumbar DRG, the authors used immunohistochemical methods. Sections were incubated overnight with antisera to tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), aromatic l-amino-acid decarboxylase (AADC), 5-hydroxytryptamine, substance P (SP), calcitonin gene–related peptide (CGRP), vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), somatostatin (SOM), neuropeptide Y (NPY), leucine-enkephalin, and cholineacetyl transferase (Ch-E). The avidin-biotin complex method was used as the immunohistochemical procedure, and the sections were observed under a light microscope.

Results

In the immunohistochemical study, TH-, AADC-, SP-, CGRP-, VIP-, SOM-, NPY-, and Ch-E–positive fibers were seen within the walls of blood vessels in the DRG. This study revealed the existence of a comprehensive perivascular adrenergic, cholinergic, and peptidergic innervation of intraganglionic blood vessels, with a possible role in neurogenic regulation (autoregulation) of intraganglionic circulation.

Conclusions

The presence of perivascular nerve plexuses around intraganglionic microvessels suggests that autonomic nerves play an important role in intraganglionic circulation.

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Kenzo Uchida, Shigeru Kobayashi, Takafumi Yayama, Yasuo Kokubo, Hideaki Nakajima, Michiko Kakuyama, Norihiro Sadato, Tatsuro Tsuchida, Yoshiharu Yonekura, and Hisatoshi Baba

Object. The authors conducted a study to examine whether high-resolution [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)—positron emission tomography (PET) could be used to visualize deterioration of cervical spinal cord function associated with various degrees of compression and to determine its potential usefulness during assessment of compressive myelopathy.

Methods. In 23 patients requiring decompressive surgery for myelopathy FDG-PET was performed. The preoperative findings of high-resolution FDG-PET were compared with the neurological scores and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings. The preoperative standardized uptake value (SUV) of FDG utilization rate of the cervical cord correlated with the pre- (r = 0.497, p = 0.016) and postoperative neurological scores (r = 0.595, p = 0.003), as well as with the rate of neurological improvement postoperatively (r = 0.538, p = 0.008). The FDG utilization rate did not correlate with the high signal intensity on T2-weighted MR images.

Conclusions. Analysis of these results indicates that high-resolution FDG-PET imaging provides useful qualitative and quantitative estimates of impaired metabolic activity of the compromised cervical cord that correlate closely with the severity of neurological dysfunction.

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Kenzo Uchida, Shigeru Kobayashi, Hideaki Nakajima, Yasuo Kokubo, Takafumi Yayama, Ryuichiro Sato, Godfrey Timbihurira, and Hisatoshi Baba

Object

The authors investigated the usefulness of using an expandable cage strut in anterior reconstruction after osteoporotic vertebral collapse in patients with neurological deficits.

Methods

Twenty-eight patients who had undergone expandable cage strut–augmented anterior thoracolumbar reconstruction participated in a follow-up review for a mean of 4.9 years. Radiographs were reviewed for kyphosis, lateral tilt of the implant, cage subsidence, the presence of a solid fusion mass, and instrumentation failure. Changes in neurological status and visual analog scale (VAS) pain score, as well as technique-related complications, were examined.

The mean angles ± the standard deviations of kyphosis correction 4 to 6 weeks after surgery and at final follow-up examination were 10.4 ± 7.6° and 5.6 ± 6.0°, respectively. The mean subsidence of the expandable cage within the adjacent vertebrae was 2.5 ± 3.0 mm at the final follow-up examination. Neurological improvement at the final follow up was more significant in patients with Type 1 (wedge-type) than Type 2 (flat-type) (p = 0.037) or Type 3 (concave-type) (p = 0.006) vertebral collapse. Follow-up VAS scores were significantly higher in patients with Type 1 than Type 3 collapse (p = 0.012). In all cases the authors observed solid union with incorporation of the cage. There were no surgery-related complications.

Conclusions

An expandable titanium cage strut seems useful in vertebral body replacement in patients with osteoporotic thoracolumbar collapse. Favorable results were obtained in cases of Type 1 collapse (wedge type) in which the middle and posterior columns remained comparatively intact.

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Kenzo Uchida, Hideaki Nakajima, Takafumi Yayama, Ryuichiro Sato, Shigeru Kobayashi, Yasuo Kokubo, Erisa S. Mwaka, and Hisatoshi Baba

Object

The aims of this study were to review the clinicoradiological findings in patients who underwent decompressive surgery for proximal and distal types of muscle atrophy caused by cervical spondylosis and to discuss the outcome and techniques of surgical intervention.

Methods

Fifty-one patients (43 men and 8 women) with proximal (37, with arm drop) and distal muscle atrophy (14, with wrist drop) underwent cervical decompression (39 anterior decompressions and 12 open-door C3–7 laminoplasties with microsurgical foraminotomy) for muscle weakness in the upper extremities. The clinical course, type of spinal cord compression, abnormal signal intensity on high-resolution MR imaging, and postdecompression improvement in muscle power were reviewed at a mean follow-up of 2.6 years (range 0.8–9.4 years).

Results

The most commonly affected vertebrae were C4–5 and C5–6, and C5–6 and C6–7 in patients with proximal or distal muscle atrophy, respectively; the respective numbers of affected vertebrae were 1.5 and 2.2. Transaxial MR imaging showed medial compression of the spinal cord in 20 patients (in 12 with proximal and 8 with distal muscle atrophy), paramedial compression in 22 (17 and 5 patients, respectively), and foraminal compression in 9 (8 and 1 patient, respectively). Increased signal intensity on MR imaging was observed in 85.0, 22.7, and 11.1% of cases of medial, paramedial, and foraminal compression, respectively. Increased signal intensity at the affected muscle segment level was observed in 52.9, 40.0, and 0% of cases, respectively. Sixty-two percent of patients with proximal muscle atrophy gained 1 or more grades of muscle power on manual muscle testing (MMT), whereas 64.3% with distal muscle atrophy failed to gain even 1 grade of improvement. The recovery of muscle power correlated with disease duration and the percent voltage of Erb point or wrist-stimulated muscle evoked potentials but not with preoperative MMT, longitudinal range of spinal cord compression, signal change on T2-weighted MR imaging, or surgical procedure.

Conclusions

Surgical outcome in patients with distal muscle atrophy was inferior to that in patients with proximal atrophy. The distal type was characterized by a long preoperative period, a greater number of cervical spine misalignments, a narrow spinal canal, and increased signal intensity on T2-weighted MR imaging. It is essential to perform a careful neurological evaluation, including sensory examination of the lower limbs, as well as neuroradiological and neurophysiological assessments to avoid confusion with motor neuron disease and to detect the coexistence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, especially when surgical treatment of cervical spondylosis is planned. The results of careful physical examination, MR imaging studies, and electromyography studies should be comprehensively evaluated to ascertain the pathophysiology of the muscle atrophy. It is very important to distinguish the pathophysiology caused by nerve root impingements from anterior horn dysfunction when making decisions about treatment strategy. Surgical treatment—with or without foraminotomy—for amyotrophy in cervical spondylosis requires urgent action with regard to human neuroanatomy and neural innervation of the paralyzed muscles.

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Kenzo Uchida, Hideaki Nakajima, Takafumi Yayama, Tsuyoshi Miyazaki, Takayuki Hirai, Shigeru Kobayashi, Kebing Chen, Alexander Rodriguez Guerrero, and Hisatoshi Baba

Object

The surgical approach and treatment of thoracolumbar osteoporotic vertebral collapse with neurological deficit have not been documented in detail. Anterior surgery provides good decompression and solid fusion, but the surgery-related risk is relatively higher than that associated with the posterior approach. In posterior surgery, the major problem after posterior correction and instrumentation is failure to support the anterior spinal column, leading to loss of correction of kyphosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of reinforcing short-segment posterior fixation with vertebroplasty and to compare the outcome with those of posterior surgery without vertebroplasty and anterior surgery, retrospectively.

Methods

The authors studied 83 patients who underwent surgical treatment for a single thoracolumbar osteoporotic vertebral collapse with neurological deficit. Twenty-eight patients treated by posterior surgery combined with vertebroplasty (Group A), 25 patients treated by posterior surgery without vertebroplasty (Group B), and 30 patients treated by anterior surgery (Group C) were followed up for a mean postoperative period of 4.4 years. Neurological outcome, visual analog scale pain score, and radiographic results were compared in the 3 groups.

Results

Postoperative (4–6 weeks) and follow-up neurological outcome and visual analog scale scores were not significantly different among the 3 groups. Postoperative kyphotic angle was significantly reduced in Group B compared with Group C (p = 0.007), whereas the kyphotic angle was not significantly different among the 3 groups at follow-up. The mean ± SD loss of correction at follow-up was 4.6° ± 4.5°, 8.6° ± 6.2°, and 4.5° ± 5.9° in Groups A, B, and C, respectively. The correction loss at follow-up in Group B was significantly higher compared with Groups A and C (p = 0.0171 and p = 0.0180, respectively).

Conclusions

The results suggest that additional reinforcement with vertebroplasty reduces the kyphotic loss and instrumentation failure, compared with patients without the reinforcement of vertebroplasty. Vertebroplasty-augmented short-segment fixation seems to offer immediate spinal stability in patients with thoracolumbar osteoporotic vertebral collapse; the effect seems equivalent to that of anterior reconstruction.

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Shigeru Kobayashi, Kenzo Uchida, Hisatoshi Baba, Kenichi Takeno, Takasi Yayama, Hideaki Nakajima, Eiki Nomura, and Hidezo Yoshizawa

✓The authors describe the clinical course and treatment of a patient with cleidocranial dysplasia in whom spastic myelopathy developed due to atlantoaxial subluxation. This 27-year-old woman with cleidocranial dysplasia and a history of atlantoaxial subluxation presented with spastic myelopathy. Surgery was performed twice for cervical myelopathy and atlantoaxial subluxation, including laminectomy at the atlas and cervicooccipital fusion in which the Luque rod system was used, as well as C1–2 fusion via the transpharyngeal route. Solid bone fusion was achieved by 7 months postsurgery. Postoperative magnetic resonance imaging studies demonstrated that spinal cord compression was relieved, but atrophy persisted. At 2 years postsurgery there was no neurological disease progression, but spasticity persisted. The patient could walk with a cane. Cleidocranial dysplasia is an extremely rare cause of myelopathy in patients with atlantoaxial subluxation; the authors know of only two reports of this condition. When managing cleidocranial dysplasia, the practitioner should always be aware that atlantoaxial subluxation may be the cause of cervical myelopathy.

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Kenzo Uchida, Hideaki Nakajima, Ryuichiro Sato, Takafumi Yayama, Erisa S. Mwaka, Shigeru Kobayashi, and Hisatoshi Baba

Object

The effects of sagittal kyphotic deformities or mechanical stress on the development of cervical spondylotic myelopathy, or the reduction and fusion of kyphotic sagittal alignment have not been consistently documented. The aim in this study was to determine the effects of kyphotic sagittal alignment of the cervical spine in terms of neurological morbidity and outcome after 2 types of surgical intervention.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 476 patients who underwent cervical spine surgeries for spondylotic myelopathy between 1993 and 2006 at their university medical center. Among these were identified 43 patients—30 men and 13 women, with a mean age of 58.8 years—who had cervical kyphosis exceeding 10° on preoperative sagittal lateral radiographs obtained in the neutral position, and their cases were analyzed in this study. Anterior decompression with interbody fusion was conducted in 28 patients, and en bloc open-door C3–7 laminoplasty in 15 patients. Both pre- and postoperative neurological, radiographic, and MR imaging findings were assessed in both surgical groups.

Results

The mean preoperative kyphotic angle in all 43 patients was 15.9 ± 5.9° in the neutral position. Segmental instability was noted in 26 patients (61%) and reversed dynamic spinal canal stenosis at the level above the local kyphosis in 22 (51%). Preoperative T2-weighted MR images showed high-intensity signal within the cord at and around the level of maximal compression or segmental instability in 28 patients (65%). The mean kyphotic angle in both the neutral and flexion positions was significantly smaller at 4–6 weeks after surgery in the anterior spondylectomy group than in the laminoplasty group (p < 0.001). Furthermore, the angle in the neutral position was significantly smaller on follow-up in the anterior spondylectomy group than in the laminoplasty group (p = 0.034). The transverse area of the spinal cord was significantly larger in the anterior spondylectomy group than in the laminoplasty group on follow-up (p = 0.037). Preoperative neurological scores (assessed using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale) and improvement on follow-up ≥ 2 years after treatment (average 3.3 years) were not significantly different between the 2 groups; however, there was a significant difference in Japanese Orthopaedic Association score at 4–6 weeks postoperatively (p = 0.047).

Conclusions

Kyphotic deformity and mechanical stress in the cervical spine may play an important role in neurological dysfunction. In a select group of patients with kyphotic deformity ≥ 10°, adequate correction of local sagittal alignment may help to maximize the chance of neurological improvement.