Surgical management of massive ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) is challenging. To reduce surgical complications, the authors have performed anterior selective stabilization combined with laminoplasty (antSS+LP) for massive OPLL since 2012. This study aimed to elucidate the short-term outcome of the antSS+LP procedure.
The authors’ analysis was based on data from 14 patients who underwent antSS+LP for cervical myelopathy caused by massive OPLL and were followed up for at least 2 years after surgery (mean follow-up duration 3.3 years). Clinical outcome was evaluated preoperatively, at 6 months and 1 year postoperatively, and at the final follow-up using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scoring system for cervical myelopathy and the recovery rate of the JOA score. The following radiographic parameters were measured preoperatively, immediately after surgery, at 1 year after surgery, and at the final follow-up: the C2–7 angle, measured on lateral plain radiographs, and the segmental lordosis angle (SLA), measured on sagittal CT scans. The correlation between radiographic parameters and clinical outcomes was evaluated.
The mean JOA score increased from 10.4 before surgery to 13.6 and 13.8 at 6 months and 1 year after surgery, respectively; at the final follow-up the mean score was 13.4. This postoperative recovery was significant (p = 0.004) and was maintained until the final follow-up. No patient required revision surgery due to postoperative neurological deterioration. However, the C2–7 angle gradually deteriorated postoperatively. Similarly, the SLA was significantly increased immediately after surgery, but the improvement was not maintained. The recovery rate at the final follow-up correlated positively with the change in C2–7 angle (r = 0.60, p = 0.03) and the change in SLA (r = 0.72, p < 0.01).
AntSS+LP is safe and effective and may be an alternative to anterior decompression and fusion for the treatment of patients with massive OPLL. No postoperative neurological complications or significant postoperative exacerbation of neck pain were observed in our case series. Not only reducing intervertebral motion and decompressing the canal at the maximal compression level but also acquiring segmental lordosis at the maximal compression level are crucial factors for achieving successful outcomes of antSS+LP.