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Yuto Ogawa, Yoshiaki Toyama, Kazuhiro Chiba, Morio Matsumoto, Masaya Nakamura, Hironari Takaishi, Hisashi Hirabayashi and Kiyoshi Hirabayashi

Object. Numerous surgical procedures have been developed for treatment of ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) of the cervical spine, and these can be performed via three approaches: anterior, posterior, or combined anterior—posterior. The optimal approach in cases involving OPLL-induced cervical myelopathy, however, remains controversial. To address this issue, the authors assessed the benefits and limitations of expansive open-door laminoplasty for OPLL-related myelopathy by evaluating mid- and long-term clinical results.

Methods. Clinical results obtained in 72 patients who underwent expansive open-door laminoplasty between 1983 and 1997 and who were followed for at least 5 years were assessed using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scoring system. The mean preoperative JOA score was 9.2 ± 0.4; at 3 years postoperatively, the JOA score was 14.2 ± 0.3 and the recovery rate (calculated using the Hirabayashi method) was 63.1 ± 4.5%, both having reached their highest level. These favorable results were maintained up to 5 years after surgery. An increase in cervical myelopathy due to progression of the ossified ligament was observed in only two of 30 patients who could be followed for more than 10 years. Severe surgery-related complications were not observed. Preoperative JOA score, age at the time of surgery, and duration between onset of initial symptoms and surgery affected clinical results.

Conclusions. Mid-term and long-term results of expansive open-door laminoplasty were satisfactory. Considering factors that affected surgical results, early surgery is recommended for OPLL of the cervical spine.

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Yuto Ogawa, Kazuhiro Chiba, Morio Matsumoto, Masaya Nakamura, Hironari Takaishi, Hisashi Hirabayashi, Kiyoshi Hirabayashi, Yuji Nishiwaki and Yoshiaki Toyama

Object. The segmental-type of ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) of the cervical spine is distinct from other types in its morphological features. Whether the results of expansive open-door laminoplasty for the segmental-type are different from those for other types remains unclear. To clarify this issue, the long-term results after surgical treatment of segmental-type OPLL were compared with those of other types.

Methods. Clinical results were documented in 57 patients who underwent expansive open-door laminoplasty and were followed for a minimum of 7 years, results were quantified using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scoring system to determine function. Segmental-type OPLL was observed in 10 patients (Group 1) and other types in 47 patients (Group 2). Preoperative JOA scores were not significantly different between the two groups. As many as 5 years after surgery, clinical results were favorable and maintained in both groups, and no significant intergroup difference in postoperative JOA scores was observed; however, after 5 years postoperatively, JOA scores decreased in both groups. The decrease was greater in Group 1, and a significant intergroup difference in JOA scores was demonstrated when analyzing final follow-up data. In Group 1, the authors found that the degree of late-onset deterioration relating to cervical myelopathy positively correlated with the cervical range of motion.

Conclusions. The long-term results of expansive open-door laminoplasty in the treatment of segmental-type OPLL were inferior to those for other types. Cervical mobility may contribute to the development of late deterioration of cervical myelopathy.

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Yuto Ogawa, Kazuhiro Chiba, Morio Matsumoto, Masaya Nakamura, Hironari Takaishi and Yoshiaki Toyama

Object

Many prognostic factors associated with surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) have been detailed in the literature. All of these factors, however, are defined preoperatively. If it is possible to clarify factors influencing surgical results that can be modulated after surgery, then the overall results of surgery may improve. The purpose of this study was to elucidate such postoperative factors affecting neurological recovery.

Methods

The authors assessed the surgical outcomes obtained in 183 patients with CSM who underwent expansive open-door laminoplasty between 1993 and 2004 and who underwent follow up for a minimum of 1 year. They classified the cases into two groups according to the degree of neurological recovery: an excellent recovery group, comprising patients in whom the recovery rates were greater than 75%, and a poor recovery group, composed of patients in whom the recovery rates were lower than 30%. Comparisons of various clinical and imaging parameters revealed that the mean age at surgery was significantly lower in patients in the excellent recovery group than that in the poor recovery group. Therefore, the authors repeated the same analyses after adjustment for age. Postoperative cervical range of motion (ROM) was significantly more reduced in the excellent recovery group than in the poor recovery group. There was a significant positive correlation between reduced cervical ROM and recovery rate in the poor recovery group.

Conclusions

Dynamic stress may ameliorate functional recovery of the degenerated spinal cord even after sufficient decompression. Postoperative preservation of cervical ROM may not always be beneficial for neurological recovery in patients with CSM.

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Morio Matsumoto, Ken Ishii, Hironari Takaishi, Masaya Nakamura, Hideo Morioka, Kazuhiro Chiba, Takeshi Takahata and Yoshiaki Toyama

✓The authors report the case of a 47-year-old woman who harbored a giant cell tumor at the T-5 level. She had undergone curettage of the tumor via a combined anterior and posterior approach at a regional hospital and was later referred to the authors' institution for treatment after the tumor recurred. On examination she exhibited progressive paraparesis and was nonambulatory due to cord compression caused by the tumor, which had invaded the spinal canal and extended to the right paravertebral muscles and right thoracic cavity. A spondylectomy was performed through a single posterior approach. The tumor, together with a portion of the dura mater, pleura, and muscles, was resected en bloc from T-4 to T-6. After resection, spinal reconstruction was performed by placement of an anterior titanium mesh cage as well as posterior pedicle screw and rod instrumentation. The patient's postoperative course was uneventful, and she exhibited substantial neurological recovery and became ambulatory. Two and a half years after surgery, the patient was tumor free.

En bloc resection of a recurrent giant cell tumor was successfully achieved through a single posterior approach. This surgical technique can be an effective option for this pathological condition, which is difficult to manage using other conventional treatment options including repeated curettage and radiotherapy.

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Morio Matsumoto, Kota Watanabe, Takashi Tsuji, Ken Ishii, Hironari Takaishi, Masaya Nakamura, Yoshiaki Toyama and Kazuhiro Chiba

Object

This retrospective study was conducted to evaluate the prevalence and clinical consequences of postoperative lamina closure after open-door laminoplasty and to identify the risk factors.

Methods

Eighty-two consecutive patients with cervical myelopathy who underwent open-door laminoplasty without plates or spacers in the open side (Hirabayashi's original method) were included (62 men and 20 women with a mean age of 62 years and a mean follow-up of 1.8 years). In 67 patients the cause of cervical myelopathy was spondylotic myelopathy, and in 15 it was caused by ossification of posterior longitudinal ligament. Radiographic measurements were made of the anteroposterior diameters of the spinal canal and vertebral bodies from C3–6, and the presence of kyphosis were assessed. Lamina closure was defined as ≥ 10% decrease in the canal-to-body ratio at the final follow-up compared with that immediately after surgery at ≥ 1 vertebral level. The impact of lamina closure on neck pain, patient satisfaction, Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores, and recovery rates were also evaluated.

Results

The mean canal-to-body ratio at C3–6 was 0.69–0.72 preoperatively, 1.25–1.28 immediately after surgery, and 1.18–1.24 at the final follow-up examination. Lamina closure was observed in 34% of patients and was not associated with sex, age, or cause of myelopathy, but was significantly associated with the presence of preoperative kyphosis (p = 0.014). Between patients with and without lamina closure, there was no significant difference in preoperative (9.7 ± 3.1 vs 10.6 ± 2.5) and postoperative (13.7 ± 2.4 vs 13.1 ± 2.7) Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores, recovery rates (53.9 ± 29.9% vs 44.3 ± 29.5%), neck pain scores (3.5 ± 0.7 vs 3.3 ± 1.0), or patient satisfaction level (4.0 ± 1.4 vs 4.8 ± 1.0).

Conclusions

Lamina closure at ≥ 1 vertebral level occurred in 34% of patients. Although patients with lamina closure obtained equivalent recovery from myelopathy in a short-term follow-up, they tended to be less satisfied with surgery compared with those who did not have closure. The only significant risk factor identified was the presence of preoperative cervical kyphosis, and preventative methods for lamina closure, therefore, should be considered for patients with preoperative kyphosis.

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Morio Matsumoto, Kota Watanabe, Ken Ishii, Takashi Tsuji, Hironari Takaishi, Masaya Nakamura, Yoshiaki Toyama and Kazuhiro Chiba

Object

In this paper, the authors' goal was to elucidate the clinical features and results of decompression surgery for extraforaminal stenosis at the lumbosacral junction.

Methods

Twenty-eight patients with severe leg pain caused by extraforaminal stenosis at the lumbosacral junction (18 men and 10 women; mean age 68.2 ± 8.9 years) were treated by posterior decompression without fusion using a microendoscope in 19 patients and a surgical microscope or loupe in 9 patients. The decompression procedures consisted of partial resection of the sacral ala, the L-5 transverse process, and the L5–S1 facet joint along the L-5 spinal nerve. The following items were investigated: 1) preoperative neurological findings; 2) preoperative radiological findings, including plain radiographs, CT scans, selective radiculography of L-5; 3) surgical outcome as evaluated using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale for low-back pain (JOA score); and 4) need for revision surgery.

Results

All patients presented with neurological deficits compatible with a diagnosis of L-5 radiculopathy such as weakness of the extensor hallucis longus muscle and sensory disturbance in the L-5 area together with neurogenic claudication. On plain radiographs, 21 patients (75%) and 17 patients (60.7%) exhibited lumbar scoliosis (≥ 5°) and wedging of the L5–S1 intervertebral space (≥ 3°), respectively. The CT scans demonstrated marked osteophyte formation at the posterolateral margin of the L5–S1 vertebral bodies, and a selective L-5 nerve root block was effective in all patients. All patients reported pain relief immediately after surgery. The mean JOA scores were 11.3 ± 3.8 before surgery and 24.3 ± 3.4 at the time of the final follow-up examination; the recovery rate was 68.6 ± 16.5%. The mean estimated blood loss was 66.6 ± 98.6 ml, and the mean surgical time was 135.3 ± 46.5 minutes. No significant difference in the recovery rate of the JOA scores or in the surgical time and blood loss was observed between the 2 surgical approaches. Four patients underwent revision posterior interbody fusion for the recurrence of radicular pain as a result of intraforaminal stenosis in 3 patients and insufficient decompression of the extraforaminal area in the remaining patient at an average of 19.5 months after surgery.

Conclusions

Extraforaminal stenosis at the lumbosacral junction is a rare but distinct pathological condition causing L-5 radiculopathy. Decompression surgery without fusion using a microendoscope or a surgical microscope/ loupe is a feasible and less invasive surgical option for elderly patients with extraforaminal stenosis at the lumbosacral junction.

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Kota Watanabe, Morio Matsumoto, Takashi Tsuji, Ken Ishii, Hironari Takaishi, Masaya Nakamura, Yoshiaki Toyama and Kazuhiro Chiba

Object

The aim in this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the ball tip technique in placing thoracic pedicle screws (TPSs), as compared with the conventional freehand technique, in both a cadaveric study and a clinical study of patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Although posterior spinal surgery using TPSs has been widely applied, these screws are associated with the potential risk of vascular, pulmonary, or neurological complications. To further enhance the accuracy and safety of TPS placement, the authors developed the ball tip technique.

Methods

After creating an appropriate starting point for probe insertion, a specially designed ball tip probe consisting of a ball-shaped tip with a flexible metal shaft is used to make a guide hole into the pedicle. Holding the probe with the fingertips while using an appropriate amount of pressure or by tapping it gently and continuously with a hammer, one can safely insert the ball tip probe into the cancellous channel in the pedicle.

In a cadaveric study, 5 spine fellows with similar levels of experience in placing TPSs applied the ball tip or the conventional technique to place screws in 5 cadavers with no spinal deformities. The incidence of misplaced screws was evaluated by dissecting the spines. In a clinical study, 40 patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis underwent posterior surgery with TPS placement via the ball tip or conventional technique (20 patients in each treatment group). The accuracy of the TPS placements was evaluated on postoperative axial CT scanning.

Results

In the cadaveric study, 100 TPSs were evaluated, and the incidence of misplaced screws was 14% in the ball tip group and 34% in the conventional group (p = 0.0192). In the clinical study, 574 TPSs were evaluated. One hundred seventy-one intrapedicular screws (67%) were recognized in the conventional group and 288 (90%) in the ball tip group (p < 0.01). In the conventional and ball tip groups, the respective numbers of TPSs with a pedicle breach of ≤ 2 mm were 20 (8%) and 15 (5%), those with a pedicle breach of > 2 mm were 32 (13%) and 9 (3%; p < 0.01), and those located in the costovertebral joints were 32 (13%) and 7 (2%).

Conclusions

In both cadaveric and clinical studies the ball tip technique enhanced the accuracy of TPS placement as compared with the conventional freehand technique. Thus, the ball tip technique is useful for the accurate and safe placement of TPSs in deformed spines.

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Kota Watanabe, Morio Matsumoto, Takeshi Ikegami, Yuji Nishiwaki, Takashi Tsuji, Ken Ishii, Yuto Ogawa, Hironari Takaishi, Masaya Nakamura, Yoshiaki Toyama and Kazuhiro Chiba

Object

To reduce intraoperative damage to the posterior supporting structures of the lumbar spine during decompressive surgery for lumbar canal stenosis (LCS), lumbar spinous process–splitting laminectomy (LSPSL or split laminectomy) was developed. This prospective, randomized, controlled study was conducted to clarify whether the split laminectomy decreases acute postoperative wound pain compared with conventional laminectomy.

Methods

Forty-one patients with LCS were enrolled in this study. The patients were randomly assigned to either the LSPSL group (22 patients) or the conventional laminectomy group (19 patients). Questionnaires regarding wound pain (intensity, depth, and duration) and activities of daily living (ADL) were administered at postoperative days (PODs) 3 and 7. Additionally, the authors evaluated the pre- and postoperative serum levels of C-reactive protein and creatine phosphokinase, the amount of pain analgesics used during a 3-day postoperative period, and the muscle atrophy rate measured on 1-month postsurgical MR images.

Results

Data obtained in patients in the LSPSL group and in 16 patients in the conventional laminectomy group were analyzed. The mean visual analog scale for wound pain on POD 7 was significantly lower in the LSPSL group (16 ± 17 mm vs 34 ± 31 mm, respectively; p = 0.04). The mean depth-of-pain scores on POD 7 were significantly lower in the LSPSL group than in the conventional group (0.9 ± 0.6 vs 1.7 ± 0.8, respectively; p = 0.013). On POD 3, the mean serum creatine phosphokinase level was significantly lower in the LSPSL group (126 ± 93 U/L) than in the other group (207 ± 150 U/L) (p = 0.02); on POD 7, the mean serum C-reactive protein level was significantly lower in the LSPSL group (1.1 ± 0.6 mg/dl) than in the conventional laminectomy group (1.9 ± 1.5 mg/dl) (p = 0.04). The number of pain analgesics taken during the 3-day postoperative period was lower in the LSPSL group than in the conventional laminectomy group (1.7 ± 1.3 tablets vs 2.3 ± 2.4 tablets, respectively; p = 0.22). The mean muscle atrophy rate was also significantly lower in the LSPSL group (24% ± 15% vs 43% ± 22%; p = 0.004).

Conclusions

Lumbar spinous process–splitting laminectomy for the treatment of LCS reduced acute postoperative wound pain and prevented postoperative muscle atrophy compared with conventional laminectomy, possibly because of minimized damage to the paraspinal muscles.