The effects of carpentry on heterotopic ossification and mobility in cervical arthroplasty: determination by computed tomography with a minimum 2-year follow-up

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  • 1 Department of Neurosurgery, Neurological Institute, and
  • 4 Department of Radiology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital; and
  • 2 School of Medicine and
  • 3 Institute of Pharmacology, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
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Object

Heterotopic ossification (HO) after cervical arthroplasty can limit the mobility of an artificial disc. In this study the authors used CT scanning to assess the formation of HO with the goal of investigating the correlation between the carpentry of arthroplasty, formation of HO, mobility, and clinical outcomes.

Methods

A retrospective review of medical records, radiological studies, and clinical evaluations was conducted for consecutive patients who underwent 1- or 2-level cervical arthroplasty with the Bryan disc. The patients underwent follow-up for more than 24 months. The formation of HO was assessed using CT scanning as the final determination. The perfectness of carpentry for each arthroplasty level was scrutinized using criteria composed of 2 parameters (postoperative shell kyphosis and inadequate endplate coverage). Levels were divided into the optimal carpentry group and the suboptimal carpentry group. Radiographic and clinical outcomes, including the visual analog scale and neck disability index, were compared between the groups.

Results

A total of 107 levels of Bryan discs were placed in 75 patients (mean age 46.71 ± 9.94 years) and were analyzed. There was a male predominance of 68.0% (51 men), and the mean follow-up duration was 38.56 ± 9.66 months. Heterotopic ossification was identified in 60 levels (56.1%) by CT scanning. Most cases of HO were low grade and did not correlate with the limitation in the segmental motion of the arthroplasty device. There were no significant differences in terms of age, sex, and number of arthroplasty levels between the optimal and the suboptimal carpentry groups. However, the suboptimal carpentry group had significantly more high-grade HO (≥ Grade 2) than the optimal carpentry group (13 levels [12.1%] vs 7 levels [6.5%], p = 0.027). There were also more immobile (range of motion < 3°) artificial discs in the suboptimal carpentry group than the optimal carpentry group (11 levels [10.3%] vs 4 levels [3.7%], p = 0.010). The clinical outcomes (neck and arm visual analog scale scores and Neck Disability Index) in both groups were similarly good.

Conclusions

Shell kyphosis and inadequate endplate coverage have adverse effects on the formation of HO and segmental mobility after cervical arthroplasty with the Bryan artificial disc. Appropriate carpentry is the more important factor in determining the maintenance of segmental motion. Although the midterm clinical outcome remained similarly good regardless of HO, the carpentry of cervical arthroplasty should not be overlooked. Further studies are needed to clarify the etiology of HO.

Abbreviations used in this paper:HO = heterotopic ossification; NDI = Neck Disability Index; NSAID = nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug; ROM = range of motion; VAS = visual analog scale.

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Contributor Notes

* Drs. Tsung-Hsi Tu and Jau-Ching Wu contributed equally to this work.

Address correspondence to: Chin-Chu Ko, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, Neurological Institute, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Room 509, 17F, No. 201, Shih-Pai Road, Sec. 2, Beitou, Taipei 11217, Taiwan. email: hansamu0627@gmail.com.

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online March 30, 2012; DOI: 10.3171/2012.3.SPINE11436.

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