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1/63. Surgical approach to ossification of the thoracic yellow ligament.

    BACKGROUND: Symptomatic ossification of the yellow ligament (OYL) at the lower thoracic level is uncommon. Although wide laminectomy has, until now, been the primary treatment for this disease, we propose a less invasive technique based on a new method of three-dimensional computed tomography (CT). methods: The clinical features and radiologic imaging findings of 37 patients with OYL (mean age, 54 years) were analyzed. The surgical approach was selected based on the position of the depicted OYL on 3D CT scan in each patient. RESULTS: The male-to-female ratio was 3:1. Involvement of the upper thoracic region was seen 11 times; of the middle region 8 times, and of the lower region 40 times (several patients had involvement in more than one region). About half of the patients complained of gait disturbance on admission caused by the markedly enlarged OYL. No postoperative complications were found. Neurologic deterioration was observed in only one patient. CONCLUSIONS: OYL should be treated as early as possible, using the least invasive technique available. By using 3D CT, we were able to perform limited surgery consisting of foraminotomy or extended partial laminectomy at the affected level after confirming the anatomic location of the OYL. In laterally extended OYL, it is necessary to decompress the radicular artery in order to prevent ischemic damage to the spinal cord. ( info)

2/63. pathology of the spinal cord damaged by ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament associated with spinal cord injury.

    A 63-year-old male became quadriplegic after spinal injury associated with ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament of the cervical spine and died 4 years later. A postmortem examination of the cervical spinal cord showed various unfavorable pathological changes accounting for severe myelopathy. ( info)

3/63. Sternal splitting approach to upper thoracic lesions located anterior to the spinal cord.

    The sternal splitting approach for upper thoracic lesions located anterior to the spinal cord is described. The sternal splitting approach can be effectively applied to lesions from the T-1 to T-3 levels. The aortic arch prevents procedures below this level. The approach is straight toward the T1-3 vertebral bodies and provides good surgical orientation. The sternal splitting approach was applied to five patients with metastatic spinal tumors at the C7-T3 levels and three patients with ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament at the T1-3 levels. No postoperative neurological deterioration occurred. Two patients had postoperative hoarseness. The sternal splitting approach to the upper thoracic spine is recommended for hard lesions, extensive lesions requiring radical resection, and lesions requiring postoperative stabilization with spinal instrumentation. ( info)

4/63. Contact of hydroxyapatite spacers with split spinous processes in double-door laminoplasty for cervical myelopathy.

    We developed a new type of spacer made of hydroxyapatite (the STSS spacer) for double-door laminoplasty, and evaluated the contact of 93 STSS spacers with the split spinous processes in 20 patients with double-door laminoplasty. Contact was assessed by measuring the extent of touch of the spacer to the spinous processes, classified into four categories based on computed tomography (CT) images: excellent, complete touch on both sides of the spacer to the spinous process; good, complete touch on one side and more than half touch on the other side; fair, more than half touch on both sides; poor, half or less touch on at least one side. Excellent contact was achieved in 65 spacers (69.9%); good, in 13 (14.0%); fair, in 11 (11. 8%); and poor, in 4 (4.3%). The percentages of excellent or good categories were 75.0% at the C3 level, 73.7% at the C4 level, 78.9% at the C5 level, 90.0% at the C6 level, and 100% at the C7 level. The contact rate of the STSS spacer with the spinous process was better than that achieved with other spacers, probably because the characteristic shape of the STSS spacer was compatible with the widened space between the bilateral spinous processes; i.e., it is trapezoidal on both the axial and the frontal sections. However, the appropriate size of the spacer must be selected in accordance with the size of the spinous process to obtain higher percentages of excellent or good contact. ( info)

5/63. Symptomatic ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament of the lumbar spine. Case report.

    The authors report a case of focal ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) behind the L-3 vertebral body. This is relatively rare among previously reported cases in the literature. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging revealed that the ossifying portion of the PLL was impinging on the left L-3 nerve root. Contrast enhancing hypertrophic PLL was also demonstrated around the ossification and along the lumbosacral PLL. Via a laminectomy and wide excision of the PLL the lesion was removed. Pathological examination revealed a nodule composed of fibrous cartilage, lamina bone, and mature fat marrow. Enchondral ossification could be identified under a microscope. The authors believe that preoperative MR imaging evaluation is important for the detection of the relationship between an OPLL and the neural structure. Excision of the symptomatic OPLL should be performed when needed to obtain adequate nerve root decompression. ( info)

6/63. Tetraparesis associated with ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament of the cervical spine.

    This is a case report of tetraparesis associated with extraordinarily severe ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) of the cervical spine. There was no history of trauma. The object of this paper is to show that OPLL can progress relentlessly to a nearly complete quadriplegia even without trauma, but that adequate decompression can produce almost complete recovery. ( info)

7/63. Anterior cervical micro-dural repair of cerebrospinal fluid fistula after surgery for ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament. Technical note.

    BACKGROUND: cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fistulas may occur during anterior cervical surgery performed for the resection of ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL), as OPLL occasionally erodes to and through the dura. These fistulas have been variously managed with gelfoam, dural substitutes sutured in place, fibrin glue, lumbar drains, and lumboperitoneal shunts. However, more adequate dural repair is now feasible with the 1.4-mm microdural titanium stapler. methods: A 59-year-old female with OPLL and moderate to severe myelopathy (Nurick Grade IV) had a C3-C7 anterior corpectomy with fusion using Orion plates followed by a C3-T1 posterior wiring and fusion with halo application. During the anterior approach, a 5-mm CSF fistula at C4-C5 was directly repaired under the operating microscope using a 1.4-mm microdural stapler, bovine pericardial graft, and fibrin glue. Immediately postoperatively, a lumboperitoneal shunt was also placed. RESULTS: Postoperatively, her myelopathy improved to a mild to moderate level (Nurick Grade II). Her acute left deltoid plegia resolved within 3 months. CONCLUSIONS: The 1.4-mm microdural stapler makes "watertight" closure of anterior cervical CSF fistulas more feasible. ( info)

8/63. Extensive cervical laminoplasty for patients with long segment OPLL in the cervical spine: an alternative to the anterior approach.

    We investigated treatment of long segment cervical OPLL by posterior decompression using a laminoplasty technique. Our aim was to both decompress the spinal cord and also to preserve neck motion. There were 38 patients treated by this posterior approach. Twenty-eight patients underwent C1-C7 expanding laminoplasty, 4 patients underwent C1-T1 expanding laminoplasty, and 6 patients C2-C7 expanding laminoplasty. The transverse width of the open-door laminoplasty was sufficient to achieve decompression of not only the spinal cord but also the nerve root outlets at each laminoplasty level. There were no complications related to this surgical technique, nor late deterioration in the mean follow up period of 4. 5 years. We propose expanding laminoplasty as an important option for the treatment of long segment cervical OPLL. ( info)

9/63. Simultaneous cervical diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis and ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament resulting in dysphagia or myelopathy in two geriatric North Americans.

    BACKGROUND: Cervical diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) and ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) rarely coexist in the North American population. Here, different surgical strategies were used to manage simultaneous DISH and OPLL resulting in dysphagia or myelopathy in two geriatric patients. methods: A 74-year-old male with esophageal compression and dysphagia attributed to DISH, and cord compression with myelopathy due to OPLL, was treated with a cervical laminectomy followed by anterior DISH resection. On the other hand, an 80-year-old male with asymptomatic DISH but moderate myelopathy (Nurick Grade III) secondary to OPLL required only a cervical laminectomy. RESULTS: In the first patient, dysphagia resolved within 3 months of surgery, while in the second individual, myelopathy improved to Nurick Grade I (mild myelopathy) within 6 months postoperatively. Improvement in both patients was maintained 1 year after surgery. CONCLUSIONS: While DISH and OPLL may coexist in geriatric patients, only those with dysphagia should undergo DISH resection, while others demonstrating myelopathy should have laminectomy alone. ( info)

10/63. Atlantoaxial subluxation associated with ossification of posterior longitudinal ligament of the cervical spine.

    STUDY DESIGN: Two case reports. OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate two rare cases of atlantoaxial subluxation associated with ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament of the cervical spine, in which spastic quadriplegia developed. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: There are only two reports of an association of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis with atlantoaxial subluxation. This condition often accompanies ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament of the cervical spine, but there is nothing in the literature about the association of ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament with atlantoaxial subluxation. methods: Clinical and radiographic findings of these two cases were demonstrated. In both cases laminoplasty of the cervical spine was performed with occipitoaxial arthrodesis. RESULTS: The spastic quadriplegia of these two patients caused by myelocompression improved after surgical intervention. CONCLUSION: Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament of the cervical spine may cause atlantoaxial subluxation. ( info)
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