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Shunsuke Kanbara, Yasutsugu Yukawa, Keigo Ito, Masaaki Machino and Fumihiko Kato

The lumbar spinous process–splitting laminectomy (LSPSL) procedure was developed as an alternative to lumbar laminectomy. In the LSPSL procedure, the spinous process is evenly split longitudinally and then divided at its base from the posterior arch, leaving the bilateral paravertebral muscle attached to the lateral aspects. This procedure allows for better exposure of intraspinal nerve tissues, comparable to that achieved by conventional laminectomy while minimizing damage to posterior supporting structures. In this study, the authors make some modifications to the original LSPSL procedure (modified LSPSL), in which laminoplasty is performed instead of laminectomy. The purpose of this study was to compare postoperative outcomes in modified LSPSL with those in conventional laminectomy (CL) and to evaluate bone unions between the split spinous process and residual laminae following modified LSPSL.

Forty-seven patients with lumbar spinal stenosis were enrolled in this study. Twenty-six patients underwent modified LSPSL and 21 patients underwent CL. Intraoperative blood loss and surgical duration were evaluated. The Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scale scores were used to assess parameters before surgery and 12 months after surgery. The recovery rates were also evaluated. Postoperative paravertebral muscle atrophy was assessed using MRI. Bone union rates between the split spinous process and residual laminae were also examined.

The mean surgical time and intraoperative blood loss were 25.7 minutes and 42.4 ml per 1 level in modified LSPSL, respectively, and 22.7 minutes and 29.5 ml in CL, respectively. The recovery rate of the JOA score was 64.2% in modified LSPSL and 68.7% in CL. The degree of paravertebral muscle atrophy was 7.8% in modified LSPSL and 22.2% in CL at 12 months after surgery (p < 0.05). The fusion rates of the spinous process with the arcus vertebrae at 6 and 12 months in modified LSPSL were 56.3% and 81.3%, respectively.

The modified LSPSL procedure was less invasive to the paravertebral muscles and could be a laminoplasty; therefore, the modified LSPSL procedure presents an effective alternative to lumbar laminectomy.

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Yasutsugu Yukawa, Fumihiko Kato, Hisatake Yoshihara, Makoto Yanase and Keigo Ito

Object

The authors conducted a study to introduce the imaging technique in which pedicle axis views are obtained using fluoroscopy to match the screw entry point with pedicle orientation and to report the clinical results and safety of cervical pedicle screw fixation (PSF) in patients treated for unstable cervical injuries.

Methods

One hundred consecutive patients with unstable cervical injuries underwent PSF in which the authors used fluoroscopic imaging to acquire pedicle axis views. There were 87 men and 13 women whose mean age was 42.5 years. The accuracy of PS placement was examined postoperatively using axial computed tomography (CT) and oblique radiography. Screw malpositioning was classified either as screw exposure (< 50% of the screw outside the pedicle) or pedicle perforation (> 50% of the screw outside the pedicle boundaries).

The mean operative time was 97.6 minutes, and the mean estimated blood loss was 221 ml. Local vertebral alignment around the injured segment measured 6.0° of kyphosis preoperatively and 6.7° of lordosis postoperatively. Solid posterior bone fusion was achieved in all but three patients who died shortly after surgery. There was no secondary dislodgment of instrumentation in 95% of these 97 cases. Of the 419 cervical PSs, 43 (10.3%) were of the screw-exposure type and 17 (4.0%) of the pedicle-perforation type. There were two surgery-related complications: one penetration of a probe into the vertebral artery and one radiculopathy. There were six postoperative complications: two cases of instrumentation failure associated with loss of correction, three cases of correction loss (> 10°), and one case of deep wound infection.

Conclusions

Solid posterior fusion without secondary dislodgment of hardware was demonstrated in 95% of the cases. The incidence of complications associated with cervical PSF was not high. Postoperative CT scanning showed that 17 (4.0%) of 419 screws perforated the pedicle. It appears that fluoroscopy performed using pedicle axis views improves the accuracy and safety of cervical PS insertion.

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Kei Ando, Shiro Imagama, Norimitsu Wakao, Kenichi Hirano, Ryoji Tauchi, Akio Muramoto, Fumihiko Kato, Yasutsugu Yukawa, Noriaki Kawakami, Koji Sato, Yuji Matsubara, Tokumi Kanemura, Yukihiro Matsuyama and Naoki Ishiguro

Object

The purpose of this study was to provide the first evidence for the influence of an ossified anterior longitudinal ligament (OALL) on the clinical features and surgical outcomes in an ossified ligamentum flavum (OLF) in the thoracic region.

Methods

Sixty-three patients who underwent surgery for a 1-level thoracic OLF were identified, and preoperative symptoms, severity of symptoms and myelopathy, disease duration, MR imaging and CT findings, surgical procedure, intraoperative findings, complications, and postoperative recovery were investigated in these patients. Entities of OALLs were found on sagittal CT images to be adjacent to or at the same vertebral level as the OLF were classified into 4 types: no discernible type (Type N), one-sided (Type O), discontinuous (Type D), and continuous (Type C).

Results

The duration of symptoms was especially long for Types D and C OALLs. Patients with Type D OALLs had a significantly worse percentage of recovery, as well as worse preoperative JOA scores.

Conclusions

The authors' results showed that a Type D OALL had strong associations with preoperative severity of symptoms and surgical outcomes. These findings may allow surgeons to determine the severity of preoperative symptoms and the probable surgical outcomes from the OALL classifications. Moreover, surgery with instrumentation for Type D OALLs may produce better surgical outcomes.

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Yasutsugu Yukawa, Fumihiko Kato, Keigo Ito, Yumiko Horie, Tetsurou Hida, Masaaki Machino, Zen-ya Ito and Yukihiro Matsuyama

Object

Increased signal intensity of the spinal cord on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was classified pre- and postoperatively in patients with cervical compressive myelopathy. It was investigated whether postoperative classification and alterations of increased signal intensity could reflect the postoperative severity of symptoms and surgical outcomes.

Methods

One hundred and four patients with cervical compressive myelopathy were prospectively enrolled. All were treated using cervical expansive laminoplasty. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed in all patients preoperatively and after an average of 39.7 months postoperatively (range 12–90 months). Increased signal intensity of the spinal cord was divided into 3 grades based on sagittal T2-weighted MR images as follows: Grade 0, none; Grade 1, light (obscure); and Grade 2, intense (bright). The severity of myelopathy was evaluated according to the Japanese Orthopedic Association (JOA) score for cervical myelopathy and its recovery rate (100% = full recovery).

Results

Increased signal intensity was seen in 83% of cases preoperatively and in 70% postoperatively. Preoperatively, there were 18 patients with Grade 0 increased signal intensity, 49 with Grade 1, and 37 with Grade 2; postoperatively, there were 31 with Grade 0, 31 with Grade 1, and 42 with Grade 2. The respective postoperative JOA scores and recovery rates (%) were 13.9/56.7% in patients with postoperative Grade 0, 13.2/50.7% in those with Grade 1, and 12.8/40.1% in those with Grade 2, and these differences were not statistically significant. The postoperative increased signal intensity grade was improved in 16 patients, worsened in 8, and unchanged in 80 (77%). There was no significant correlation between the alterations of increased signal intensity and surgical outcomes.

Conclusions

The postoperative increased signal intensity classification reflected postoperative symptomatology and surgical outcomes to some extent, without statistically significant differences. The alteration of increased signal intensity was seen postoperatively in 24 patients (23%) and was not correlated with surgical outcome.

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Yukihiro Matsuyama, Yoshihito Sakai, Yoshito Katayama, Shiro Imagama, Zenya Ito, Norimitsu Wakao, Koji Sato, Mitsuhiro Kamiya, Yasutsugu Yukawa, Tokumi Kanemura, Makoto Yanase and Naoki Ishiguro

Object

The authors investigated the outcome of intramedullary spinal cord tumor surgery, focusing on the effect of preoperative neurological status on postoperative mobility and the extent of tumor excision guided by intraoperative spinal cord monitoring prospectively.

Methods

Intramedullary spinal cord tumor surgery was performed in 131 patients between 1997 and 2007. The authors compared the pre- and postoperative neurological status and examined the type of surgery in 106 of these patients. A modified McCormick Scale (Grades I–V) was used to assess ambulatory ability (I = normal ambulation; II = mild motor sensory deficit, independent without external aid; III = independent with external aid; IV = care required; and V = wheelchair required). The type of surgery was classified into 4 levels: total resection, subtotal resection, partial resection, and biopsy.

Results

The 106 patients consisted of 47 females and 59 males, whose average age was 42.5 years (range 6–75 years). The mean follow-up period was 7.3 years (range 2.5 months–21 years). The tumor types included astrocytoma (12 cases), ependymoma (46 cases), hemangioblastoma (16 cases), cavernous hemangioma (17 cases), and others (15 cases overall: gangliocytoma, 1; germ cell tumor, 1; lymphoma, 3; neurinoma, 1; meningioma, 1; oligodendroglioma, 1; sarcoidosis, 2; glioma, 1; and unknown, 4). Initial total excision, subtotal resection, partial resection, biopsy, and duraplasty were performed in 59, 12, 22, 12, and 1 patients, respectively. According to the preoperative McCormick Scale, ambulatory status was classified as Grades I, II, III, IV, and V in 41(38%), 30 (28%), 14 (13%), 19 (19%), and 2 (2%) patients, respectively. Thirty-three (31%) of 106 patients suffered postoperative neurological deterioration. The number of patients who did not lose ambulatory ability or who achieved an ambulatory status of Grade I or II postoperatively was 33 (80%), 21 (70%), 10 (71%), 8 (42%), and 1 (50%) in patients with preoperative Grades I, II, III, IV, and V, respectively. Total excision was performed in 31 (79%) of 39 patients with preoperative Grade I, 12 (40%) of 30 patients with Grade II, 7 (50%) of 14 patients with Grade III, and 9 of 21 patients (38%) with Grade IV or V, indicating that the rate of total excision was significantly higher in patients with Grade I status.

Conclusions

The postoperative ambulatory ability was excellent in patients with a good preoperative neurological status. Total excision in patients with Grade I or II ambulation was associated with a good prognosis for postoperative mobility. However, the rate of postoperative deterioration was 31.5%, which is relatively high, and patients should be fully informed of this concern prior to intramedullary spinal cord tumor surgery.

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Hiroaki Nakashima, Yasutsugu Yukawa, Shiro Imagama, Tokumi Kanemura, Mitsuhiro Kamiya, Makoto Yanase, Keigo Ito, Masaaki Machino, Go Yoshida, Yoshimoto Ishikawa, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Naoki Ishiguro and Fumihiko Kato

Object

The cervical pedicle screw (PS) provides strong stabilization but poses a potential risk to the neurovascular system, which may be catastrophic. In particular, vertebrae with degenerative changes complicate the process of screw insertion, and PS misplacement and subsequent complications are more frequent. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the peri- and postoperative complications of PS fixation for nontraumatic lesions and to determine the risk factors of each complication.

Methods

Eighty-four patients who underwent cervical PS fixation for nontraumatic lesions were independently reviewed to identify associated complications. The mean age of the patients was 60.1 years, and the mean follow-up period was 4.1 years (range 6–168 months). Pedicle screw malpositioning was classified on postoperative CT scans as Grade I (< 50% of the screw outside the pedicle) or Grade II (≥ 50% of the screw outside the pedicle). Risk factors of each complication were evaluated using a multivariate analysis.

Results

Three hundred ninety cervical PSs and 24 lateral mass screws were inserted. The incidence of PS misplacement was 19.5% (76 screws); in terms of malpositioning, 60 screws (15.4%) were classified as Grade I and 16 (4.1%) as Grade II. In total, 33 complications were observed. These included postoperative neurological complications in 11 patients in whom there was no evidence of screw misplacement (C-5 palsy in 10 and C-7 palsy in 1), implant failure in 11 patients (screw loosening in 5, broken screws in 4, and loss of reduction in 2), complications directly attributable to screw insertion in 5 patients (nerve root injury by PS in 3 and vertebral artery injury in 2), and other complications in 6 patients (pseudarthrosis in 2, infection in 1, transient dyspnea in 1, transient dysphagia in 1, and adjacent-segment degeneration in 1). The multivariate analysis showed that a primary diagnosis of cerebral palsy was a risk factor for postoperative implant failure (HR 10.91, p = 0.03) and that the presence of preoperative cervical spinal instability was a risk factor for both Grade I and Grade II screw misplacement (RR 2.12, p = 0.03), while there were no statistically significant risk factors for postoperative neurological complications in the absence of evidence of screw misplacement or complications directly attributable to screw insertion.

Conclusions

In the present study, misplacement of cervical PSs and associated complications occurred more often than in previous studies. The rates of screw-related neurovascular complications and neurological deterioration unrelated to PSs were high. Insertion of a PS for nontraumatic lesions is surgically more challenging than that for trauma; consequently, experienced surgeons should use PS fixation for nontraumatic cervical lesions only after thorough preoperative evaluation of each patient's cervical anatomy and after considering the risk factors specified in the present study.

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Hiroaki Nakashima, Shiro Imagama, Yasutsugu Yukawa, Tokumi Kanemura, Mitsuhiro Kamiya, Makoto Yanase, Keigo Ito, Masaaki Machino, Go Yoshida, Yoshimoto Ishikawa, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Nobuyuki Hamajima, Naoki Ishiguro and Fumihiko Kato

Object

Postoperative C-5 palsy is a significant complication resulting from cervical decompression procedures. Moreover, when cervical degenerative diseases are treated with a combination of decompression and posterior instrumented fusion, patients are at increased risk for C-5 palsy. However, the clinical and radiological features of this condition remain unclear. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to clarify the risk factors for developing postoperative C-5 palsy.

Methods

Eighty-four patients (mean age 60.1 years) who had undergone posterior instrumented fusion using cervical pedicle screws to treat nontraumatic lesions were independently reviewed. The authors analyzed the medical records of some of these patients who developed postoperative C-5 palsy, paying particular attention to their plain radiographs, MRI studies, and CT scans. Risk factors for postoperative C-5 palsy were assessed using multivariate logistic regression analysis. The cutoff values for the pre- and postoperative width of the intervertebral foramen (C4–5) were determined by receiver operating characteristic curve analysis.

Results

Ten (11.9%) of 84 patients developed postoperative C-5 palsy. Seven patients recovered fully from the neurological complications. The pre- and postoperative C4–5 angles showed significant kyphosis in the C-5 palsy group. The pre- and postoperative diameters of the C4–5 foramen on the palsy side were significantly smaller than those on the opposite side in the C-5 palsy group and those bilaterally in the non–C5 palsy group. Risk factors identified by multivariate logistic regression analysis were as follows: 1) ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (relative risk [RR] 7.22 [95% CI 1.03–50.55]); 2) posterior shift of the spinal cord (C4–5) (RR 1.73 [95% CI 1.00–2.98]); and 3) postoperative width of the C-5 intervertebral foramen (RR 0.33 [95% CI 0.14–0.79]). The cutoff values of the pre- and postoperative widths of the C-5 intervertebral foramen for C-5 palsy were 2.2 and 2.3 mm, respectively.

Conclusions

Patients with preoperative foraminal stenosis, posterior shift of the spinal cord, and additional iatrogenic foraminal stenosis due to cervical alignment correction were more likely to develop postoperative C-5 palsy after posterior instrumentation with fusion. Prophylactic foraminotomy at C4–5 might be useful when preoperative foraminal stenosis is present on CT. Furthermore, it might be useful for treating postoperative C-5 palsy. To prevent excessive posterior shift of the spinal cord, the authors recommend that appropriate kyphosis reduction should be considered carefully.

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Ryoji Tauchi, Shiro Imagama, Hidefumi Inoh, Yasutsugu Yukawa, Tokumi Kanemura, Koji Sato, Yoshihito Sakai, Mitsuhiro Kamiya, Hisatake Yoshihara, Zenya Ito, Kei Ando, Akio Muramoto, Hiroki Matsui, Tomohiro Matsumoto, Junichi Ukai, Kazuyoshi Kobayashi, Ryuichi Shinjo, Hiroaki Nakashima, Masayoshi Morozumi and Naoki Ishiguro

Object

Cervical spondylosis that causes upper-extremity muscle atrophy without gait disturbance is called cervical spondylotic amyotrophy (CSA). The distal type of CSA is characterized by weakness of the hand muscles. In this retrospective analysis, the authors describe the clinical features of the distal type of CSA and evaluate the results of surgical treatment.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of 17 consecutive cases involving 16 men and 1 woman (mean age 56.3 years) who underwent surgical treatment for the distal type of CSA. The condition was diagnosed on the basis of cervical spondylosis in the presence of muscle impairment of the upper extremity (intrinsic muscle and/or finger extension muscles) without gait disturbance, and the presence of a compressive lesion involving the anterior horn of the spinal cord, the nerve root at the foramen, or both sites as seen on axial and sagittal views of MRI or CT myelography. The authors assessed spinal cord or nerve root impingement by MRI or CT myelography and evaluated surgical outcomes.

Results

The preoperative duration of symptoms averaged 11.8 months. There were 14 patients with impingement of the anterior horn of the spinal cord and 3 patients with both anterior horn and nerve root impingement. Twelve patients were treated with laminoplasty (plus foraminotomy in 1 case), 3 patients were treated with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, and 2 patients were treated with posterior spinal fixation. The mean manual muscle testing grade was 2.4 (range 1–4) preoperatively and 3.4 (range 1–5) postoperatively. The surgical results were excellent in 7 patients, good in 2, and fair in 8.

Conclusions

Most of the patients in this series of cases of the distal type of CSA suffered from impingement of the anterior horn of the spinal cord, and surgical outcome was fair in about half of the cases.

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Shiro Imagama, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Yoshihito Sakai, Hiroshi Nakamura, Yoshito Katayama, Zenya Ito, Norimitsu Wakao, Koji Sato, Mitsuhiro Kamiya, Fumihiko Kato, Yasutsugu Yukawa, Yasushi Miura, Hisatake Yoshihara, Kazuhiro Suzuki, Kei Ando, Kenichi Hirano, Ryoji Tauchi, Akio Muramoto and Naoki Ishiguro

Object

The purpose of this study was to provide the first evidence for image classification of idiopathic spinal cord herniation (ISCH) in a multicenter study.

Methods

Twelve patients who underwent surgery for ISCH were identified, and preoperative symptoms, severity of paralysis and myelopathy, disease duration, plain radiographs, MR imaging and CT myelography findings, surgical procedure, intraoperative findings, data from spinal cord monitoring, and postoperative recovery were investigated in these patients. Findings on sagittal MR imaging and CT myelography were classified into 3 types: a kink type (Type K), a discontinuous type (Type D), and a protrusion type (Type P). Using axial images, the location of the hiatus was classified as either central (Type C) or lateral (Type L), and the laterality of the herniated spinal cord was classified based on correspondence (same; Type S) or noncorrespondence (opposite; Type O) with the hiatus location. A bone defect at the ISCH site and the laterality of the defect were also noted.

Results

Patients with Type P herniation had a good postoperative recovery, and those with a Type C location had significant severe preoperative lower-extremity paralysis and a significantly poor postoperative recovery. Patients with a bone defect had a significantly severe preoperative myelopathy, but showed no difference in postoperative recovery.

Conclusions

The authors' results showed that a Type C classification and a bone defect have strong relationships with severity of symptoms and surgical outcome and are important imaging and clinical features for ISCH. These findings may allow surgeons to determine the severity of preoperative symptoms and the probable surgical outcome from imaging.