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Keiichi Katsumi, Akiyoshi Yamazaki, Kei Watanabe, Toru Hirano, Masayuki Ohashi, and Naoto Endo

Cervical radiculopathy of the C2–4 spinal nerves is a rare condition and is poorly documented in terms of clinical symptoms, hindering its detection during initial patient screening based on imaging diagnostics. The authors describe in detail the clinical symptoms and successful surgical treatment of a patient diagnosed with isolated C-4 radiculopathy. This 41-year-old man suffered from sleep disturbance because of pain behind the right ear, along the right clavicle, and at the back of his neck on the right side. The Jackson and Spurling tests were positive, with pain radiating to the area behind the patient's ear. Unlike in cases of radiculopathy involving the C5–8 spinal nerves, no loss of upper-extremity motor function was seen. Magnetic resonance imaging showed foraminal stenosis at the C3–4 level on the right side, and multiplanar reconstruction CT revealed a beak-type ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament in the foraminal region at the same level. In the absence of intracranial lesions or spinal cord compressive lesions, the positive Jackson and Spurling tests and the C3–4 foraminal stenosis were indicative of isolated C-4 radiculopathy. Microscopic foraminotomy was performed at the C3–4 vertebral level and the ossified lesion was resected. The patient's symptoms completely resolved immediately after surgery. To the authors' knowledge, this report is the first to describe the symptomatic features of isolated C-4 radiculopathy, in a case in which the diagnosis has been confirmed by both radiological findings and surgical outcome. Based on this case study, the authors conclude that the characteristic symptoms of C-4 radiculopathy are the presence of pain behind the ear and in the clavicular region in the absence of upper-limb involvement.

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Takaki Inoue, Satoshi Maki, Toshitaka Yoshii, Takeo Furuya, Satoru Egawa, Kenichiro Sakai, Kazuo Kusano, Yukihiro Nakagawa, Takashi Hirai, Kanichiro Wada, Keiichi Katsumi, Kengo Fujii, Atsushi Kimura, Narihito Nagoshi, Tsukasa Kanchiku, Yukitaka Nagamoto, Yasushi Oshima, Kei Ando, Masahiko Takahata, Kanji Mori, Hideaki Nakajima, Kazuma Murata, Shunji Matsunaga, Takashi Kaito, Kei Yamada, Sho Kobayashi, Satoshi Kato, Tetsuro Ohba, Satoshi Inami, Shunsuke Fujibayashi, Hiroyuki Katoh, Haruo Kanno, Shiro Imagama, Masao Koda, Yoshiharu Kawaguchi, Katsushi Takeshita, Morio Matsumoto, Seiji Ohtori, Masashi Yamazaki, Atsushi Okawa, and

OBJECTIVE

It is unclear whether anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ADF) or laminoplasty (LMP) results in better outcomes for patients with K-line–positive (+) cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL). The purpose of the study is to compare surgical outcomes and complications of ADF versus LMP in patients with K-line (+) OPLL.

METHODS

The study included 478 patients enrolled in the Japanese Multicenter Research Organization for Ossification of the Spinal Ligament and who underwent surgical treatment for cervical OPLL. The patients who underwent anterior-posterior combined surgery or posterior decompression with instrumented fusion were excluded. The patients with a follow-up period of fewer than 2 years were also excluded, leaving 198 patients with K-line (+) OPLL. Propensity score matching was performed on 198 patients with K-line (+) OPLL who underwent ADF (44 patients) or LMP (154 patients), resulting in 39 pairs of patients based on the following predictors for surgical outcomes: age, preoperative Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score, C2–7 angle, and the occupying ratio of OPLL. Clinical outcomes were assessed 1 and 2 years after surgery using the recovery rate of the JOA score. Complications and reoperation rates were also investigated.

RESULTS

The mean recovery rate of the JOA score 1 year after surgery was 55.3% for patients who underwent ADF and 42.3% (p = 0.06) for patients who underwent LMP. Two years after surgery, the recovery rate was 53.4% for those who underwent ADF and 38.7% for LMP (p = 0.07). Although both surgical procedures yielded good results, the mean recovery rate of JOA scores tended to be higher in the ADF group. The incidence of surgical complications, however, was higher following ADF (33%) than LMP (15%; p = 0.06). The reoperation rate was also higher in the ADF group (15%) than in the LMP group (0%; p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Clinical outcomes were good for both ADF and LMP, indicating that ADF and LMP are appropriate procedures for patients with K-line (+) OPLL. Clinical outcomes of ADF 1 and 2 years after surgery tended to be better than LMP, but the analysis did not detect any significant difference in clinical outcomes between the groups. Conversely, patients who underwent ADF had a higher incidence of surgery-related complications. When considering indications for ADF or LMP, benefits and risks of the surgical procedures should be carefully weighed.