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Junya Hanakita, Takanori Suzuki, Yoshisuke Yamamoto, Yuji Kinuta and Kiyoshi Nishihara

✓ Malfunction of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt is reported in a 25-year-old woman at 32 weeks of gestation. Pregnancies and delivery in women with cerebrospinal fluid shunts are rarely reported, and malfunction of a shunt system during pregnancy is extremely unusual.

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Ryo Kanematsu, Junya Hanakita, Toshiyuki Takahashi, Yosuke Tomita and Manabu Minami


Surgical management of thoracic ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) remains challenging because of the anatomical complexity of the thoracic spine and the fragility of the thoracic spinal cord. Several surgical approaches have been described, but it remains unclear which of these is the most effective. The present study describes the microsurgical removal of OPLL in the middle thoracic level via the transthoracic anterolateral approach without spinal fusion, including the surgical outcome and operative tips.


Between 2002 and 2017, a total of 8 patients with thoracic myelopathy due to OPLL were surgically treated via the transthoracic anterolateral approach without spinal fusion. The surgical techniques are described in detail. Clinical outcome, surgical complications, and the pre- and postoperative thoracic kyphotic angle were assessed.


The mean patient age at the time of surgery was 55 years (range 47–77 years). There were 5 women and 3 men. The surgically treated levels were within T3–9. The clinical symptoms and Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score improved postoperatively in 7 cases, but did not change in 1 case. The mean JOA score increased from 6.4 preoperatively to 7.5 postoperatively (recovery rate 26%). Intraoperative CSF leakage occurred in 4 cases, and was successfully treated with fibrin glue sealing and spinal drainage. The mean follow-up period was 82.6 months (range 15.3–169 months). None of the patients had deterioration of the thoracic kyphotic angle.


Anterior decompression is the logical and ideal procedure to treat thoracic myelopathy caused by OPLL on the concave side of the spinal cord; however, this procedure is technically demanding. Microsurgery via the transthoracic anterolateral approach enables direct visualization of the thoracic ventral ossified lesion. The use of microscopic procedures might negate the need for bone grafting or spinal instrumentation.

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Kazuhiko Shiokawa, Junya Hanakita, Hideyuki Suwa, Masaaki Saiki, Masashi Oda and Motohiro Kajiwara

Object. A variety of factors may affect surgery-related outcome in patients with ossification of the ligamentum flavum (OLF) of the thoracic spine. The aim of this study was to determine these factors on the basis of preoperative clinical and radiological findings.

Methods. The authors treated 31 cases of symptomatic thoracic OLF between 1988 and 1999. The following factors were retrospectively studied: patient age, sex, morbidity level, initial symptoms, chief complaint, duration of symptoms, patellar reflex, Achilles reflex, computerized tomography (CT) finding, presence of intramedullary change determined by magnetic resonance imaging, coexistent spinal lesions, preoperative grade, and postoperative grade.

A decompressive laminectomy was performed in all cases. In 29 patients (94%) improved symptoms were demonstrated postoperatively. In terms of functional prognosis, the preoperative duration of symptoms was significantly shorter in the group of patients with excellent outcomes than in those with fair outcomes (p < 0.05).

No significant difference was observed in the correlation between other factors. To evaluate the degree of preoperative thoracic stenosis and the severity/extent of OLF-induced spinal compression, we used an original OLF CT scoring system. A score of excellent on the CT scale tended to indicate an excellent prognosis (p < 0.01).

Conclusions. Thoracic OLF frequently develops in the lower-thoracic spine in middle-aged men, and it is complicated by various spinal lesions in many cases. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for understanding the clinical symptoms and imaging diagnosis because the present findings suggest that a delay in diagnosis and treatment correlates with the functional prognosis postoperatively.

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Shobu Namura, Junya Hanakita, Hideyuki Suwa, Masaki Mizuno, Toshiyuki Ohtsuka and Minoru Asahi

✓ The authors report a rare case of intraspinal thoracic mobile neurinoma in a 51-year-old man. The clinical symptoms, especially thoracoabdominal discomfort, changed remarkably according to the patient's posture. Magnetic resonance images demonstrated that the level of the caudal end of the tumor varied between T4–5 and T9–10 with changes in the patient's position. Intraoperative myelography was useful in identifying the tumor location and choosing the level of the laminectomy.

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Keita Kuraishi, Junya Hanakita, Toshiyuki Takahashi, Manabu Minami, Masanao Mori and Mizuki Watanabe

The authors report on an 81-year-old woman whose condition deteriorated 2 months after undergoing osteoplastic laminoplasty with placement of hydroxyapatite spacers. Magnetic resonance imaging showed postlaminectomy scar formation compressing the cervical spinal cord. The patient underwent laminectomy and removal of remarkably thick epidural scar tissue, which resulted in resolution of her symptoms. Histological diagnosis of the scar was fibrous granulation tissue with foreign body granuloma, characterized by multinucleated giant cells and marked increases of capillary vessels, fibroblasts, and collagen fibers. This case of symptomatic postlaminectomy scar formation after osteoplastic laminoplasty suggests that osteoplastic laminoplasty cannot always prevent laminectomy membrane formation.

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Satoshi Yamaguchi, Masaaki Takeda, Toshiyuki Takahashi, Hitoshi Yamahata, Takafumi Mitsuhara, Tadaaki Niiro, Junya Hanakita, Kazutoshi Hida, Kazunori Arita and Kaoru Kurisu


Spinal meningioma and schwannoma are the most common spinal intradural extramedullary tumors, and the differentiation of these 2 tumors by CT and MRI has been a matter of debate. The purpose of this article is to present a case series of spinal meningiomas showing unique imaging features: a combination of a fan-shaped spinal cord and a streak in the tumor. The authors termed the former imaging feature “ginkgo leaf sign” and evaluated its diagnostic value.


The authors present 7 cases of spinal meningioma having the ginkgo leaf sign. Thirty spinal extramedullary tumors arising lateral or ventrolateral to the spinal cord were studied to evaluate the diagnostic value of the ginkgo leaf sign for spinal meningiomas. Among 30 cases, 12 tumors were spinal meningiomas and 18 tumors from the control group were all schwannomas.


Seven of the 12 spinal meningiomas were positive for the ginkgo leaf sign. The sign was not present in the control group tumors. The overall ability to use the ginkgo leaf sign to detect meningioma indicated a sensitivity of 58%, specificity of 100%, positive predictive value of 100%, and negative predictive value of 78%.


The ginkgo leaf sign is highly specific to spinal meningiomas arising lateral or ventrolateral to the spinal cord. In the present series, the ginkgo leaf sign was perfectly predictive for spinal meningioma.