Volumetric analysis of bilateral spinal canal decompression via hemilaminectomy versus laminoplasty in cervical spondylotic myelopathy

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:2069–2074

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is a degenerative process of the cervical spine requiring surgical decompression to prevent neurological deterioration. While both anterior and posterior approaches yield satisfactory results, posterior decompression is preferred in cases of the multilevel disease. In 2015, we described a muscle-sparing, novel technique of bilateral osteoligamentous decompression via hemilaminectomy (OLD) for CSM. In this study, we investigate whether this technique offers comparable volumetric results to laminoplasty in terms of spinal canal enlargement and whether this technique can yield significant clinical improvement.

Methods Patients undergoing OLD due to CSM were prospectively enrolled in this study and then matched to and compared with a historic cohort of patients with CSM treated by laminoplasty. An independent sample t test was performed to analyze whether the volumetric gain in the two separate groups was statistically significant. Patients in the OLD cohort were clinically evaluated with the mJOA score preoperatively and 3 months postoperatively. To assess clinical improvement, a paired sample t test was performed.

Results A total of 38 patients were included in the analysis: 19 underwent OLD and 19 underwent laminoplasty. Both groups were well matched in terms of sex, age, preoperative spinal canal volume, and involved levels. Both surgical methods yielded statistically significant volumetric gain in the cervical spinal canal, but a trend towards a greater volume gain was seen in the OLD group. In the OLD group, a statistically significant clinical improvement was also demonstrated.

Conclusions Our study reveals that OLD can yield a comparable extent of decompression to laminoplasty in CSM while also delivering statistically significant clinical improvement.