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Takahito Fujimori, Motoki Iwasaki, Shinya Okuda, Yukitaka Nagamoto, Hironobu Sakaura, Takenori Oda and Hideki Yoshikawa

Object

Surgical results in cervical myelopathy caused by ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) evaluated with a patient-based method have not yet been reported. The purpose of this study was to examine patient satisfaction with surgery for cervical myelopathy due to OPLL and to clarify factors related to satisfaction.

Methods

Clinical data in 103 patients (74 male and 29 female) who underwent surgery for cervical OPLL were retrospectively reviewed. The average age at surgery was 57 years, and the average follow-up period was 9.3 years. Outcomes were assessed using an original satisfaction questionnaire, the conventional Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scoring system, the JOA Cervical Myelopathy Evaluation Questionnaire, the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey, and the hospital anxiety and depression scale. Spearman rank correlation coefficients for 5-scale patient satisfaction against outcome measures were calculated to test relationships between variables. All variables were compared between the satisfied (responses of very satisfied or satisfied) and dissatisfied (responses of dissatisfied or very dissatisfied) groups. Parameters exhibiting a significant Spearman rank correlation or difference between the groups were entered in a stepwise logistic regression analysis model, with satisfaction as the dependent variable.

Results

Sixty-nine patients were included in the analysis. There was not a significant difference in clinical data between these 69 study patients and the other 34 patients. Fifty-five patients (80%) were satisfied with the results of the surgery, and 58 patients (84%) reported that their condition was improved by the surgery. All patients who reported being very improved were either very satisfied or satisfied with the results of surgery. Quality of life (QOL), physical function (PF), and role physical (RP) were significantly correlated with patient satisfaction. The dissatisfied group had significantly more severe pain; lower maximum conventional JOA scores; lower maximum recovery rates; worse lower-extremity function (LEF); reduced QOL; and lower PF, RP, and vitality scores. Stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that PF, QOL, LEF, and maximum recovery rate based on JOA score were correlated with satisfaction.

Conclusions

Eighty percent of patients were satisfied with the surgical results after treatment of cervical myelopathy due to OPLL. Surgery for cervical OPLL was effective, as evaluated by both doctor- and patient-based methods. Patient satisfaction was related to QOL, PF (especially LEF), and improvement.

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Takahito Fujimori, Motoki Iwasaki, Yukitaka Nagamoto, Takahiro Ishii, Hironobu Sakaura, Masafumi Kashii, Hideki Yoshikawa and Kazuomi Sugamoto

Object

Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) is a progressive disease that causes cervical myelopathy. Because 2D evaluation of ossification growth with plain lateral radiographs has limitations, the authors developed a unique technique to measure ossification progression and volume increase by using multidetector CT scanning.

Methods

The authors used serial thin-slice volume data obtained by multidetector CT scanning in 5 patients. The mean patient age was 63 years, and the mean follow-up duration was 3.1 years. First, a 3D model of OPLL was semiautomatically segmented at a specific threshold. Then, a preoperative model of OPLL was superimposed on a postoperative model using voxel-based registration of the vertebral bodies. Progression and volume increase were measured using a digital viewer that was developed by the authors. Progression was visualized using a color-coded contour on the surface of the OPLL model.

Results

All patients had progression of 0.5 mm or greater. The mean values concerning OPLL growth were as follows: maximum progression length, 4.7 mm; progression rate, 1.5 mm/year; volume increase, 1622 mm3; volume expansion rate, 37%; and volume increase rate, 484 mm3/year. The accuracy of superimposition by voxel-based registration, defined as closeness to the true value, was less than 0.31 mm. For intraobserver reproducibility of the volume measurement, the mean intraclass correlation coefficient, root mean square error, and coefficient of variation were 0.987, 16.0 mm3, and 1.7%, respectively.

Conclusions

Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament progresses even after surgery. Three-dimensional evaluation with the aid of CT scans is a useful and reliable method for assessing that growth.

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Takahito Fujimori, Motoki Iwasaki, Yukitaka Nagamoto, Masafumi Kashii, Takahiro Ishii, Hironobu Sakaura, Kazuomi Sugamoto and Hideki Yoshikawa

Object

In this paper, the authors' goals were to determine the extent of the effect of continuous-type ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) of the cervical spine on intervertebral range of motion (ROM) and to examine the relationship between the 3D morphology of OPLL and intervertebral ROM.

Methods

The authors evaluated 5 intervertebral segments in each of 20 patients (11 men and 9 women) with continuous-type OPLL, for a total of 100 intervertebral segments, using functional CT in anteroposterior (AP) flexion and right and left axial rotation. Three-dimensional kinematics were evaluated using the voxel-based registration method. Ossification was classified on the basis of 3D kinematics and morphology.

Results

The authors found 49 ossifications that were obviously of the continuous type. They were divided into 2 types: 1) bridging (13 instances), with thick, continuous ossification of the anterior or posterior longitudinal ligament bridging intervertebral segments and with an ROM of 0.3° in AP flexion and 0.2° in rotation; and 2) nonbridging (36 instances), with a minute gap in the ossification itself or between the ossification and vertebra and with an ROM of 4.9° in AP flexion and 4.0° in rotation. There were 8 stalagmite-type ossifications in the nonbridging group that had the unique kinematics of restricted AP flexion and normal axial rotation.

Conclusions

The authors' findings indicate that most continuous-type ossifications that are categorized using the conventional radiographic classification system have mobile segments. The discrimination between bridging and nonbridging on CT scans can be a useful predictive index for dynamic factors.

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Yukitaka Nagamoto, Takahiro Ishii, Motoki Iwasaki, Hironobu Sakaura, Hisao Moritomo, Takahito Fujimori, Masafumi Kashii, Tsuyoshi Murase, Hideki Yoshikawa and Kazuomi Sugamoto

Object

The uncovertebral joints are peculiar but clinically important anatomical structures of the cervical vertebrae. In the aged or degenerative cervical spine, osteophytes arising from an uncovertebral joint can cause cervical radiculopathy, often necessitating decompression surgery. Although these joints are believed to bear some relationship to head rotation, how the uncovertebral joints work during head rotation remains unclear. The purpose of this study is to elucidate 3D motion of the uncovertebral joints during head rotation.

Methods

Study participants were 10 healthy volunteers who underwent 3D MRI of the cervical spine in 11 positions during head rotation: neutral (0°) and 15° increments to maximal head rotation on each side (left and right). Relative motions of the cervical spine were calculated by automatically superimposing a segmented 3D MR image of the vertebra in the neutral position over images of each position using the volume registration method. The 3D intervertebral motions of all 10 volunteers were standardized, and the 3D motion of uncovertebral joints was visualized on animations using data for the standardized motion. Inferred contact areas of uncovertebral joints were also calculated using a proximity mapping technique.

Results

The 3D animation of uncovertebral joints during head rotation showed that the joints alternate between contact and separation. Inferred contact areas of uncovertebral joints were situated directly lateral at the middle cervical spine and dorsolateral at the lower cervical spine. With increasing angle of rotation, inferred contact areas increased in the middle cervical spine, whereas areas in the lower cervical spine slightly decreased.

Conclusions

In this study, the 3D motions of uncovertebral joints during head rotation were depicted precisely for the first time.

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Takahito Fujimori, Hai Le, John E. Ziewacz, Dean Chou and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Object

There are little data on the effects of plated, or plate-only, open-door laminoplasty on cervical range of motion (ROM), neck pain, and clinical outcomes. The purpose of this study was to compare ROM after a plated laminoplasty in patients with ossification of posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) versus those with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) and to correlate ROM with postoperative neck pain and neurological outcomes.

Methods

The authors retrospectively compared patients with a diagnosis of cervical stenosis due to either OPLL or CSM who had been treated with plated laminoplasty in the period from 2007 to 2012 at the University of California, San Francisco. Clinical outcomes were measured using the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale and neck visual analog scale (VAS). Radiographic outcomes included assessment of changes in the C2–7 Cobb angle at flexion and extension, ROM at C2–7, and ROM of proximal and distal segments adjacent to the plated lamina.

Results

Sixty patients (40 men and 20 women) with an average age of 63.1 ± 10.9 years were included in the study. Forty-one patients had degenerative CSM and 19 patients had OPLL. The mean follow-up period was 20.9 ± 13.1 months.

The mean mJOA score significantly improved in both the CSM and the OPLL groups (12.8 to 14.5, p < 0.01; and 13.2 to 14.2, respectively; p = 0.04). In the CSM group, the mean VAS neck score significantly improved from 4.2 to 2.6 after surgery (p = 0.01), but this improvement did not reach the minimum clinically important difference (MCID). Neither was there significant improvement in the VAS neck score in the OPLL group (3.6 to 3.1, p = 0.17).

In the CSM group, ROM at C2–7 significantly decreased from 32.7° before surgery to 24.4° after surgery (p < 0.01). In the OPLL group, ROM at C2–7 significantly decreased from 34.4° to 20.8° (p < 0.01). In the CSM group, the change in the VAS neck score significantly correlated with the change in the flexion angle (r = − 0.31) and the extension angle (r = − 0.37); however, it did not correlate with the change in ROM at C2–7 (r = − 0.1). In the OPLL group, the change in the VAS neck score did not correlate with the change in the flexion angle (r = 0.03), the extension angle (r = − 0.17), or the ROM at C2–7 (r = − 0.28). The OPLL group had a significantly greater loss of ROM after surgery than did the CSM group (p = 0.04). There was no significant correlation between the change in ROM and the mJOA score in either group.

Conclusions

Plated laminoplasty in patients with either OPLL or CSM decreases cervical ROM, especially in the extension angle. Among patients who have undergone laminoplasty, those with OPLL lose more ROM than do those with CSM. No correlation was observed between neck pain and ROM in either group. Neither group had a change in neck pain that reached the MCID following laminoplasty. Both groups improved in neurological function and outcomes.

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Takahito Fujimori, Shinichi Inoue, Hai Le, William W. Schairer, Sigurd H. Berven, Bobby K. Tay, Vedat Deviren, Shane Burch, Motoki Iwasaki and Serena S. Hu

Object

Despite increasing numbers of patients with adult spinal deformity, it is unclear how to select the optimal upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) in long fusion surgery for these patients. The purpose of this study was to compare the use of vertebrae in the upper thoracic (UT) versus lower thoracic (LT) spine as the upper instrumented vertebra in long fusion surgery for adult spinal deformity.

Methods

Patients who underwent fusion from the sacrum to the thoracic spine for adult spinal deformity with sagittal imbalance at a single medical center were studied. The patients with a sagittal vertical axis (SVA) ≥ 40 mm who had radiographs and completed the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12) preoperatively and at final follow-up (≥ 2 years postoperatively) were included.

Results

Eighty patients (mean age of 61.1 ± 10.9 years; 69 women and 11 men) met the inclusion criteria. There were 31 patients in the UT group and 49 patients in the LT group. The mean follow-up period was 3.6 ± 1.6 years. The physical component summary (PCS) score of the SF-12 significantly improved from the preoperative assessment to final follow-up in each group (UT, 34 to 41; LT, 29 to 37; p = 0.001). This improvement reached the minimum clinically important difference in both groups. There was no significant difference in PCS score improvement between the 2 groups (p = 0.8). The UT group had significantly greater preoperative lumbar lordosis (28° vs 18°, p = 0.03) and greater thoracic kyphosis (36° vs 18°, p = 0.001). After surgery, there was no significant difference in lumbar lordosis or thoracic kyphosis. The UT group had significantly greater postoperative cervicothoracic kyphosis (20° vs 11°, p = 0.009). The UT group tended to maintain a smaller positive SVA (51 vs 73 mm, p = 0.08) and smaller T-1 spinopelvic inclination (−2.6° vs 0.6°, p = 0.06). The LT group tended to have more proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK), although the difference did not reach statistical significance. Radiographic PJK was 32% in the UT group and 41% in the LT group (p = 0.4). Surgical PJK was 6.4% in the UT group and 10% in the LT group (p = 0.6).

Conclusions

Both the UT and LT groups demonstrated significant improvement in clinical and radiographic outcomes. A significant difference was not observed in improvement of clinical outcomes between the 2 groups.

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Yukitaka Nagamoto, Motoki Iwasaki, Tsuyoshi Sugiura, Takahito Fujimori, Yohei Matsuo, Masafumi Kashii, Hironobu Sakaura, Takahiro Ishii, Tsuyoshi Murase, Hideki Yoshikawa and Kazuomi Sugamoto

Object

Cervical laminoplasty is an effective procedure for decompressing the spinal cord at multiple levels, but restriction of neck motion is one of the well-known complications of the procedure. Although many authors have reported on cervical range of motion (ROM) after laminoplasty, they have focused mainly on 2D flexion and extension on lateral radiographs, not on 3D motion (including coupled motion) nor on precise intervertebral motion. The purpose of this study was to clarify the 3D kinematic changes in the cervical spine after laminoplasty performed to treat cervical spondylotic myelopathy.

Methods

Eleven consecutive patients (6 men and 5 women, mean age 68.1 years, age range 57–79 years) with cervical spondylotic myelopathy who had undergone laminoplasty were included in the study. All patients underwent 3D CT of the cervical spine in 5 positions (neutral, 45° head rotation left and right, maximum head flexion, and maximum head extension) using supporting devices. The scans were performed preoperatively and at 6 months after laminoplasty. Segmental ROM from Oc–C1 to C7–T1 was calculated both in flexion-extension and in rotation, using a voxel-based registration method.

Results

Mean C2–7 flexion-extension ROM, equivalent to cervical ROM in all previous studies, was 45.5° ± 7.1° preoperatively and 35.5° ± 8.2° postoperatively, which was a statistically significant 33% decrease. However, mean Oc–T1 flexion-extension ROM, which represented total cervical ROM, was 71.5° ± 8.3° preoperatively and 66.5° ± 8.3° postoperatively, an insignificant 7.0% decrease. In focusing on each motion segment, the authors observed a statistically significant 22.6% decrease in mean segmental ROM at the operated levels during flexion-extension and a statistically insignificant 10.2% decrease during rotation. The most significant decrease was observed at C2–3. Segmental ROM at C2–3 decreased 24.2% during flexion-extension and 21.8% during rotation. However, a statistically insignificant 37.2% increase was observed at the upper cervical spine (Oc–C2) during flexion-extension. The coupling pattern during rotation did not change significantly after laminoplasty.

Conclusions

In this first accurate documentation of 3D segmental kinematic changes after laminoplasty, Oc–T1 ROM, which represented total cervical ROM, did not change significantly during either flexion-extension or rotation by 6 months after laminoplasty despite a significant decrease in C2–7 flexion-extension ROM. This is thought to be partially because of a compensatory increase in segmental ROM at the upper cervical spine (Oc–C2).

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Yukitaka Nagamoto, Motoki Iwasaki, Hironobu Sakaura, Tsuyoshi Sugiura, Takahito Fujimori, Yohei Matsuo, Masafumi Kashii, Tsuyoshi Murase, Hideki Yoshikawa and Kazuomi Sugamoto

OBJECT

Usually additional anchors into the ilium are necessary in long fusion to the sacrum for degenerative lumbar spine disorders (DLSDs), especially for adult spine deformity. Although the use of anchors is becoming quite common, surgeons must always keep in mind that the sacroiliac (SI) joint is mobile and they should be aware of the kinematic properties of the SI joint in patients with DLSDs, including adult spinal deformity. No previous study has clarified in vivo kinematic changes in the SI joint with respect to patient age, sex, or parturition status or the presence of DLSDs. The authors conducted a study to clarify the mobility and kinematic characteristics of the SI joint in patients with DLSDs in comparison with healthy volunteers by using in vivo 3D motion analysis with voxel-based registration, a highly accurate, noninvasive method.

METHODS

Thirteen healthy volunteers (the control group) and 20 patients with DLSDs (the DLSD group) underwent low-dose 3D CT of the lumbar spine and pelvis in 3 positions (neutral, maximal trunk flexion, and maximal trunk extension). SI joint motion was calculated by computer processing of the CT images (voxel-based registration). 3D motion of the SI joint was expressed as both 6 df by Euler angles and translations on the coordinate system and a helical axis of rotation. The correlation between joint motion and the cross-sectional area of the trunk muscles was also investigated.

RESULTS

SI joint motion during trunk flexion-extension was minute in healthy volunteers. The mean rotation angles during trunk flexion were 0.07° around the x axis, −0.02° around the y axis, and 0.16° around the z axis. The mean rotation angles during trunk extension were 0.38° around the x axis, −0.08° around the y axis, and 0.08° around the z axis. During trunk flexion-extension, the largest amount of motion occurred around the x axis. In patients with DLSDs, the mean rotation angles during trunk flexion were 0.57° around the x axis, 0.01° around the y axis, and 0.19° around the z axis. The mean rotation angles during trunk extension were 0.68° around the x axis, −0.11° around the y axis, and 0.05° around the z axis. Joint motion in patients with DLSDs was significantly greater, with greater individual difference, than in healthy volunteers. Among patients with DLSDs, women had significantly more motion than men did during trunk extension. SI joint motion was significantly negatively correlated with the cross-sectional area of the trunk muscles during both flexion and extension of the trunk.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors elucidated the mobility and kinematic characteristics of the SI joint in patients with DLSDs compared with healthy volunteers for the first time. This information is useful for spine surgeons because of the recent increase in spinopelvic fusion for the treatment of DLSDs.

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Hironobu Sakaura, Daisuke Ikegami, Takahito Fujimori, Tsuyoshi Sugiura, Yoshihiro Mukai, Noboru Hosono and Takeshi Fuji

OBJECTIVE

Cortical bone trajectory (CBT) screw insertion through a caudomedial starting point provides advantages in limiting dissection of the superior facet joints and reducing muscle dissection and the risk of superior-segment facet violation by the screw. These advantages of the cephalad CBT screw can result in lower rates of early cephalad adjacent segment degeneration (ASD) after posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) with CBT screw fixation (CBT-PLIF) than those after PLIF using traditional trajectory screw fixation (TT-PLIF). Here, the authors investigated early cephalad ASD after CBT-PLIF and compared these results with those after TT-PLIF.

METHODS

The medical records of all patients who had undergone single-level CBT-PLIF or single-level TT-PLIF for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis (DLS) and with at least 3 years of postsurgical follow-up were retrospectively reviewed. At 3 years postoperatively, early cephalad radiological ASD changes (R-ASD) such as narrowing of disc height (> 3 mm), anterior or posterior slippage (> 3 mm), and posterior opening (> 5°) were examined using lateral radiographs of the lumbar spine. Early cephalad symptomatic adjacent segment disease (S-ASD) was diagnosed when clinical symptoms such as leg pain deteriorated during postoperative follow-up and the responsible lesion suprajacent to the fused segment was confirmed on MRI.

RESULTS

One hundred two patients underwent single-level CBT-PLIF for DLS and were followed up for at least 3 years (CBT group). As a control group, age- and sex-matched patients (77) underwent single-level TT-PLIF for DLS and were followed up for at least 3 years (TT group). The total incidence of early cephalad R-ASD was 12.7% in the CBT group and 41.6% in the TT group (p < 0.0001). The incidence of narrowing of disc height, anterior slippage, and posterior slippage was significantly lower in the CBT group (5.9%, 2.0%, and 4.9%) than in the TT group (16.9%, 13.0%, and 14.3%; p < 0.05). Early cephalad S-ASD developed in 1 patient (1.0%) in the CBT group and 3 patients (3.9%) in the TT group; although the incidence was lower in the CBT group than in the TT group, no significant difference was found between the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS

CBT-PLIF, as compared with TT-PLIF, significantly reduced the incidence of early cephalad R-ASD. One of the main reasons may be that cephalad CBT screws reduced the risk of proximal facet violation by the screw, which reportedly can increase biomechanical stress and lead to destabilization at the suprajacent segment to the fused segment.