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Vincent Traynelis

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Yukihiko Obara, Morio Matsumoto, Kazuhiro Chiba, Hiroo Yabe, Yoshiaki Toyama and Makio Mukai

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Ken Ishii, Kazuhiro Chiba, Masahiko Watanabe, Hiroo Yabe, Yoshikazu Fujimura and Yoshiaki Toyama

✓ Excision is the treatment of choice in cases of sacral chordoma. Local recurrences, however, have often been observed even after total en bloc resection. The authors assessed outcomes in four cases of tumor recurrence in patients who underwent total en bloc S2–3 resection for sacral chordomas that were located below S-3. The primary recurrences were located at either side of the lateral portion of the remaining sacrum in all patients. In two patients in whom preoperative magnetic resonance imaging indicated no invasion of the tumor into surrounding soft tissues, recurrence in the resected end of the gluteus maximus or piriformis muscle was also observed. The authors therefore recommend that the S2–3 sacrectomy should be performed over an adequate margin, including a part of sacroiliac joints at the bilateral portions of the sacrum and soft tissues such as the gluteus maximus or piriformis muscle.

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Morio Matsumoto, Kazuhiro Chiba, Takashi Tsuji, Hirofumi Maruiwa, Yoshiaki Toyama and Jun Ogawa

✓ The authors placed titanium mesh cages to achieve posterior atlantoaxial fixation in five patients with atlantoaxial instability caused by rheumatoid arthritis or os odontoideum. A mesh cage packed with autologous cancellous bone was placed between the C-1 posterior arch and the C-2 lamina and was tightly connected with titanium wires. Combined with the use of transarticular screws, this procedure provided very rigid fixation. Solid fusion was achieved in all patients without major complications. The advantages of this method include more stable fixation, better control of the atlantoaxial fixation angle, and reduced donor-site morbidity compared with a conventional atlantoaxial arthrodesis in which an autologous iliac crest graft is used.

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Masahiko Watanabe, Kazuhiro Chiba, Morio Matsumoto, Hirofumi Maruiwa, Yoshikazu Fujimura and Yoshiaki Toyama

Object. Spinal cord herniation is a rare cause of progressive myelopathy and can be corrected surgically. In most previous reports, closure of the dural defect was the recommended procedure. The object of this paper is to describe a new procedure in which spinal cord constriction is released by enlarging the hiatus; additionally the postoperative results will be discussed.

Methods. In nine patients with spinal cord herniation, enlargement of the dural defect was performed. In eight patients, neurological deficits resolved immediately after surgery. In one patient with a severe preoperative neurological deficit whose spinal cord herniated massively, deterioration occurred postoperatively. To date, no recurrence of herniation has been observed.

Conclusions. The goals of surgery are to reduce the herniation, return the spinal cord to the normal position, and prevent the recurrence of herniation. The use of sutures to close the dural defect has been the method of choice to date. The surgical space in front of the spinal cord, however, is insufficient to accommodate this procedure safely. Because symptoms are caused by the constriction of the spinal cord at the hiatus, surgical expansion of the hiatus allows the goals of surgery to be achieved. This procedure, which is technically easier and less invasive with regard to the vulnerable spinal cord than the closure of the dural defect, could be a viable alternative for the treatment of this rare disease.

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Masahiko Watanabe, Kazuhiro Chiba, Morio Matsumoto, Hirofumi Maruiwa, Yoshikazu Fujimura and Yoshiaki Toyama

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Masaya Nakamura, Kazuhiro Chiba, Takashi Nishizawa, Hirofumi Maruiwa, Morio Matsumoto and Yoshiaki Toyama

Object. Pain is one of the major symptoms in patients with syringomyelia; however, its origin is not fully understood, and postoperative improvement of pain is difficult to predict. The objectives of this study were to assess the surgery-related results obtained in patients who underwent treatment for syringomyelia associated with Chiari I malformation, particularly related to pain status, and to identify factors that may influence improvement in postoperative pain by comparing pre- and postoperative magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings.

Methods. The correlation between pre- and postoperative changes in the size and the location of the syrinx and pain improvement was investigated in 25 patients. The shapes of the syringes were classified into three types: central, enlarged, and deviated. In most cases in which the syrinx deviated toward the posterolateral aspect of the spinal cord at the level corresponding to dermatomal distribution of preoperative pain, the lesion remained at the same position postoperatively, and improvement in pain was poor. On the other hand, enlarged-type syringes were the most frequently observed prior to surgery, exhibited diverse changes postoperatively, and improvement in pain status was difficult to predict. When postoperative MR imaging revealed a transformation to the deviated type, poor pain improvement was noted.

Conclusions. Neurons in the dorsal horn were thought to be involved in the development of pain as a result of the deafferentiation mechanism in cases of syringomyelia.

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Yukihiro Matsuyama, Kazuhiro Chiba, Hisashi Iwata, Takayuki Seo and Yoshiaki Toyama


Chemonucleolysis with condoliase has the potential to be a new, less invasive therapeutic option for patients with lumbar disc herniation (LDH). The aim of the present study was to determine the most suitable therapeutic dose of condoliase.


Patients between 20 and 70 years of age with unilateral leg pain, positive findings on the straight leg raise test, and LDH were recruited. All eligible patients were randomly assigned to receive condoliase (1.25, 2.5, or 5 U) or placebo. The primary end point was a change in the worst leg pain from preadministration (baseline) to week 13. The secondary end points were changes from baseline in the following items: worst back pain, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), SF-36, and neurological examination. For pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analyses, plasma condoliase concentrations and serum keratan sulfate concentrations were measured. The safety end points were adverse events (AEs) and radiographic and MRI parameters. Data on leg pain, back pain, abnormal neurological findings, and imaging parameters were collected until week 52.


A total of 194 patients received an injection of condoliase or placebo. The mean change in worst leg pain from baseline to week 13 was −31.7 mm (placebo), −46.7 mm (1.25 U), −41.1 mm (2.5 U), and −47.6 mm (5 U). The differences were significant at week 13 in the 1.25-U group (−14.9 mm; 95% CI −28.4 to −1.4 mm; p = 0.03) and 5-U group (−15.9 mm; 95% CI −29.0 to −2.7 mm; p = 0.01) compared with the placebo group. The dose-response improvement in the worst leg pain at week 13 was not significant (p = 0.14). The decrease in the worst leg pain in all 3 condoliase groups was observed from week 1 through week 52. Regarding the other end points, the worst back pain and results of the straight leg raise test, ODI, and SF-36 showed a tendency for sustained improvement in each of the condoliase groups until week 52. In all patients at all time points, plasma condoliase concentrations were below the detectable limit (< 100 μU/ml). Serum keratan sulfate concentrations significantly increased from baseline to 6 hours and 6 weeks after administration in all 3 condoliase groups. No patient died or developed anaphylaxis or neurological sequelae. Five serious AEs occurred in 5 patients (3 patients in the condoliase groups and 2 patients in the placebo group), resolved, and were considered unrelated to the investigational drug. Severe AEs occurred in 10 patients in the condoliase groups and resolved or improved. In the condoliase groups, back pain was the most frequent AE. Modic type 1 change and decrease in disc height were frequent imaging findings. Dose-response relationships were observed for the incidence of adverse drug reactions and decrease in disc height.


Condoliase significantly improved clinical symptoms in patients with LDH and was well tolerated. While all 3 doses had similar efficacy, the incidence of adverse drug reactions and decrease in disc height were dose dependent, thereby suggesting that 1.25 U would be the recommended clinical dose of condoliase.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00634946 (

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Kazuhiro Chiba, Itsuo Yamamoto, Hisashi Hirabayashi, Motoki Iwasaki, Hiroshi Goto, Kazuo Yonenobu and Yoshiaki Toyama

Object. Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) often progresses after surgery, and this may cause late-onset neurological deterioration. There have been few studies, however, to clarify any correlation between progression and clinical outcome, partly because of the lack of studies involving reliable and reproducible methods by which detection of progression is made possible. The authors conducted a multicenter study to investigate the occurrence of postoperative progression and to elucidate the possible risk factors in a large-scale patient population, and a novel computer-assisted measurement method was used to provide the basis for future clinical studies.

Methods. The authors analyzed lateral plain radiographs obtained immediately and at 1 and 2 years after surgery in 131 patients who underwent posterior decompression at 13 institutions. The x-ray films were transformed via scanner into digital images; the length and thickness of ossifications were measured using a new computer-assisted measurement system, and the incidence of progression was determined. Odds ratios for progression according to age group and types of OPLL were determined and compared to elucidate significant risk factors of progression.

Conclusions. This is the first multicenter study to investigate the incidence of OPLL progression after posterior decompression by using a standardized measurement method. The rate of postoperative progression at 2 years was 56.5%, which was comparable with results reported in other studies. Progression occurred more frequently in younger-age rather than in older-age patient populations at both 1 and 2 years postoperatively. Mixed-type and continuous-type OPLL progressed more frequently than the segmental-type lesion at 2 years. The results of the present study could serve as basis for future studies to assess the efficacy of drug therapy to prevent OPLL progression.