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Surgical treatment of lumbar ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament

Report of two cases and description of surgical technique

Mutsuhiro Tamura, Masafumi Machida, Daisuke Aikawa, Kentaro Fukuda, Hitoshi Kono, Yoshio Suda, Masanobu Shioda, Masashi Saito and Masaaki Yamagishi

✓ The authors report two cases of patients with lumbar ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL). One patient underwent surgery via the single posterior approach, and the other patient underwent combined anterior—posterior surgery. The authors consider the anterior approach for excision of the ossified lesion to be the most reasonable for treatment of lumbar OPLL. It is extremely important, however, to select the surgical procedure according to the individual patient's condition.

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Lawrence G. Lenke

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Naobumi Hosogane, Kota Watanabe, Hitoshi Kono, Masashi Saito, Yoshiaki Toyama and Morio Matsumoto


The authors undertook this study to evaluate curve progression, risk factors for curve progression, and outcomes after decompression surgery in patients with degenerative lumbar scoliosis with minimal to moderate curvature.


Of 852 patients with lumbar canal stenosis treated by posterior decompression surgery, 50 patients had a lumbar curve greater than 10° at final follow-up. These patients were divided into 2 groups according to curve progression during the follow-up period: the P group (11 patients), with a curve progression of more than 5°, and the NP group (39 patients), with a curve progression of 5° or less. The authors compared preoperative parameters in these 2 groups to elucidate risk factors associated with curve progression and other surgical outcomes.


The average lumbar curve progression in the total group of 50 patients was 3.4° ± 3.9° (range −2.0° to 22.0°). In the P group the average curve progression was 8.5°, and in the NP group it was 2.0°. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed no significant association between curve progression and any of the potential risk factors evaluated (including curve magnitude, decompression method, and degenerative intervertebral disc changes). Spur formation, evaluated with the Nathan classification at the concave side of the curve, tended to be greater in the P group, although the difference was not statistically significant. There was no significant difference in revision surgery rate, and none of the patients required arthrodesis due to curve progression. Clinical outcomes, evaluated with the Japanese Orthopaedic Association Back Pain Evaluation Questionnaire and the Scoliosis Research Society 22-question questionnaire, were also similar in the 2 groups.


Surgical outcomes did not deteriorate in the P group. While curve progression after decompression surgery could not be predicted from the preoperative factors considered, spur formation at the concave side of the curve may be a candidate factor. The results of this study indicate that spinal fixation to halt deformity progression is not always necessary if the patient's pathological condition derives mainly from canal stenosis.

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Masahiro Ozaki, Nobuyuki Fujita, Azusa Miyamoto, Satoshi Suzuki, Osahiko Tsuji, Narihito Nagoshi, Eijiro Okada, Mitsuru Yagi, Takashi Tsuji, Masaya Nakamura, Morio Matsumoto, Hitoshi Kono and Kota Watanabe


Lumbar spinal canal stenosis (LSS) and knee osteoarthritis (KOA), both of which are age-related degenerative diseases, are independently correlated with increased pain and dysfunction of the lower extremities. However, there have been few studies that investigated whether LSS patients with KOA exhibit poor clinical recovery following lumbar spinal surgery. The aim of this study was to elucidate the surgical outcomes of lumbar spinal surgery for LSS patients with KOA using multiple health-related quality of life (HRQOL) parameters.


A total of 865 consecutive patients who underwent posterior lumbar spinal surgery for LSS were retrospectively reviewed. Baseline characteristics, radiographic parameters, perioperative factors, and multiple HRQOL parameters were analyzed preoperatively and at 1-year follow-up. HRQOL items included the Zurich Claudication Questionnaire, Oswestry Disability Index, Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), and Japanese Orthopaedic Association Back Pain Evaluation Questionnaire (JOABPEQ). The effectiveness of surgical treatment was assessed using the JOABPEQ. The treatment was regarded as effective when it resulted in an increase in postoperative JOABPEQ score by ≥ 20 points compared with preoperative score or achievement of a postoperative score of ≥ 90 points in those with a preoperative score of < 90 points.


A total of 32 LSS patients with KOA were identified, and 128 age- and sex-matched LSS patients without KOA were selected as controls. In both groups, all HRQOL parameters markedly improved at the 1-year follow-up. On the SF-36, the postoperative mean score for the role physical domain was significantly lower in the KOA group than in the control group (p = 0.034). The treatment was significantly less “effective” in the social life domain of JOABPEQ in the KOA group than in the control group (p < 0.001).


The surgical outcomes of LSS patients with KOA are favorable, although poorer than those of LSS patients without KOA, particularly in terms of social life and activities. These results indicate that LSS patients with KOA experience difficulty in routine work or ordinary activities due to knee pain or restricted knee ROM even after lumbar spinal surgery. Hence, preoperative KOA status warrants consideration when planning lumbar spinal surgery and estimating surgical outcomes of LSS.