Impact of focal apex angle on postoperative decompression status of the spinal cord and neurological recovery after cervical laminoplasty

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  • 1 Department of Orthopedics, Kanto Rosai Hospital, Kawasaki City;
  • | 2 Department of Orthopedics, Yokohama Minami Kyousai Hospital; and
  • | 3 Department of Orthopedics, Yokohama City University School of Medicine, Yokohama City, Japan
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OBJECTIVE

Although anterior compression factors and cervical alignment affect neural decompression, cervical laminoplasty may be used to achieve indirect posterior decompression. The focal apex (FA) angle of the anterior compression factor of the spine represents the degree of anterior prominence toward the spinal cord. The authors investigated the mechanism underlying the influence of FA angle and cervical alignment on spinal cord alignment (SCA) after laminoplasty, including how high-intensity signal cord change (HISCC) on preoperative T2-weighted MRI (T2-MRI) may affect neurological improvement.

METHODS

We performed a retrospective study of patients who underwent laminoplasty for CSM or OPLL at two hospitals (Kanto Rosai Hospital, Kawasaki City, and Yokohama Minami Kyousai Hospital, Yokohama City, Japan) between April 2004 and March 2015. In total, 109 patients (mean age 67.3 years) with cervical compression myelopathy were included. FA angle was defined as the preoperative angle between the lines from the top of the prominence to the upper and lower adjacent vertebrae. Preoperative cervical alignment was measured between the C2 and C7 vertebrae (C2–7 angle). MRI was used to classify SCA as lordosis (type-L SCA), straight (type-S), local kyphosis (type-LK), or kyphosis (type-K). Preoperative HISCC was investigated by using T2-MRI. Neurological status was evaluated by using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association score.

RESULTS

The mean preoperative FA and C2–7 angles were 32.1° and 12.4°, respectively. Preoperative SCA was type-L or type-S in 53 patients. The neurological recovery rate (NRR) was significantly higher for patients with preoperative type-L and type-S SCA (51.4% for those with type-L and 45.0% for those with type-S) than for patients with other types (35.3% for those with type-LK and 31.7% for those with type-K). Among patients with preoperative type-L or type-S SCA, 87.3% maintained SCA; however, 5/12 (41.7%) patients with a preoperative average C2–7 angle < 12.4° and an average FA angle > 32.1° had postoperative type-LK or type-K SCA. SCA changed to type-L or type-S in 13.0% of patients with preoperative type-LK or type-K SCA. Moreover, in these patients, FA angle was significantly smaller and NRR was significantly higher than in other patients in whom postoperative SCA remained type-LK or type-K. Preoperative T2-MRI showed 73 patients with HISCC (43 with type-L and type-S, and 30 with type-LK and type-K SCA) and 36 without HISCC (20 with type-L and type-S, and 16 with type-LK and type-K SCA); the NRRs of these patients were 42.6% and 41.2%, respectively. No significant differences in SCA or NRR were observed between patients with and without HISCC.

CONCLUSIONS

NRR depends on preoperative SCA type; however, it is possible to change the type of SCA after laminoplasty. Preoperative FA and C2–7 angles influence change in SCA; therefore, they are important parameters for successful decompression with cervical laminoplasty.

ABBREVIATIONS

ACF = anterior compression factor; CSA = cervical spine alignment; CSM = cervical spondylotic myelopathy; FA = focal apex; HISCC = high-intensity signal cord change; ICC = intraclass correlation coefficient; JOA = Japanese Orthopaedic Association; NRR = neurological recovery rate; OPLL = ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament; PD = posterior decompression; SCA = spinal cord alignment; T2-MRI = T2-weighted MRI.

Illustration from Rothrock et al. (pp 535–545). Copyright Roberto Suazo. Published with permission.

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