Crossing the cervicothoracic junction: an evaluation of radiographic alignment, functional outcomes, and patient-reported outcomes

J Neurosurg Spine 38:653–661, 2023

There is currently no consensus regarding the appropriate lower instrumented vertebra (LIV) for multilevel posterior cervical fusion (PCF) constructs between C7 and crossing the cervicothoracic junction (CTJ). The goal of the present study was to compare postoperative sagittal alignment and functional outcomes among adult patients presenting with cervical myelopathy undergoing multilevel PCF terminating at C7 versus spanning the CTJ.

METHODS A single-institution retrospective analysis (January 2017–December 2018) was performed of patients undergoing multilevel PCF for cervical myelopathy that involved the C6–7 vertebrae. Pre- and postoperative cervical spine radiographs were analyzed for cervical lordosis, cervical sagittal vertical axis (cSVA), and first thoracic (T1) vertebral slope (T1S) in two randomized independent trials. Modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) and Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) scores were used to compare functional and patient-reported outcomes at the 12-month postoperative follow-up.

RESULTS Sixty-six consecutive patients undergoing PCF and 53 age-matched controls were included in the study. There were 36 patients in the C7 LIV cohort and 30 patients in the LIV spanning the CTJ cohort. Despite significant correction, patients undergoing fusion remained less lordotic than asymptomatic controls, with a C2–7 Cobb angle of 17.7° versus 25.5° (p < 0.001) and a T1S of 25.6° versus 36.3° (p < 0.001). The CTJ cohort had superior alignment corrections in all radiographic parameters at the 12-month postoperative follow-up compared with the C7 cohort: increase in T1S (ΔT1S 14.1° vs 2.0°, p < 0.001), increase in C2–7 lordosis (ΔC2–7 lordosis 11.7° vs 1.5°, p < 0.001), and decrease in cSVA (ΔcSVA 8.9 vs 5.0 mm, p < 0.001). There were no differences in the mJOA motor and sensory scores between cohorts pre- and postoperatively. The C7 cohort reported significantly better PROMIS scores at 6 months (22.0 ± 3.2 vs 11.5 ± 0.5, p = 0.04) and 12 months (27.0 ± 5.2 vs 13.5 ± 0.9, p = 0.01) postoperatively.

CONCLUSIONS Crossing the CTJ may provide a greater cervical sagittal alignment correction in multilevel PCF surgeries. However, the improved alignment may not be associated with improved functional outcomes as measured by the mJOA scale. A new finding is that crossing the CTJ may be associated with worse patient-reported outcomes at 6 and 12 months of postoperative follow-up as measured by the PROMIS, which should be considered in surgical decision-making. Future prospective studies evaluating long-term radiographic, patient-reported, and functional outcomes are warranted.

Open-door laminoplasty with stand-alone autologous bone spacers

J Neurosurg Spine 35:633–637, 2021

The authors aimed to determine the efficacy of open-door laminoplasty with stand-alone autologous bone spacer for preserving enlarged lamina in patients with cervical myelopathy.

METHODS Patients who underwent open-door laminoplasty for cervical myelopathy with stand-alone autologous bone spacer and underwent CT 1 week and 1 year after surgery were included in this study. There were 20 men and 13 women, with an average (range) age of 65.0 (37–86) years. Seventeen patients were younger than 70 years, and 16 patients were older than 70 years. Autogenous bone spacers made from spinous processes were used in all patients. Slits were made on both sides of the spacers. The lamina was raised with a curette, and a spacer was inserted without any sutures. Before surgery and 1 week and 1 year after surgery, the anteroposterior diameter (APD) of the spinal canal was measured using midsagittal-plane CT–multiplanar reconstruction. The bone union rate of the hinge side and autogenous bone spacer of each lamina was determined using CT images obtained 1 year after surgery. Results 1 year after surgery were evaluated using Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score.

RESULTS The mean ± SD APD increase rate was 56.3% ± 21.3% 1 week after surgery and 51.7% ± 20.6% 1 year later. The average APD decrease rate was 2.9% ± 3.8%. The bone union rate on the hinge side was 100%, and that of autologous bone spacer was 93.8% 1 year after surgery. The mean APD decrease rate was 3.3% in patients younger than 70 years and 2.3% in those older than 70 years. There was no significant difference between the two groups (p > 0.05, nonpaired t-test). The JOA score averaged 10.1 before surgery and 13.3 a year after surgery (total score 17). The average improvement rate was 46.3% ± 26.4%.

CONCLUSIONS The authors devised and implemented a technique for inserting an autologous bone spacer between the opened lamina and lateral mass without sutures. The enlarged spinal canal was maintained 1 year after surgery. This simple method does not require any instrumentation or additional cost to stabilize the opened lamina.

Postoperative Rigid Cervical Collar Leads to Less Axial Neck Pain in the Early Stage After Open-Door Laminoplasty—A Single-Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial

Neurosurgery, Volume 85, Issue 3, September 2019, Pages 325–334

Cervical collars are used after laminoplasty to protect the hinge opening, reduce risks of hinge fractures, and avoid spring-back phenomena. However, their usemay lead to reduced range of motion and worse neck pain.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the clinical, radiological, and functional outcomes of patients undergoing single-door laminoplasty with or without collar immobilization.

METHODS: This was a prospective, parallel, single-blinded randomized controlled trial. Patients underwent standardized single-door laminoplasty with mini-plates for cervical myelopathy and were randomly allocated into 2 groups based on the use of collar postoperatively. Clinical assessments included cervical range of motion, axial neck pain (VAS [visual analogue scale]), and objective scores (short-form 36-item, neck disability index, andmodified Japanese Orthopaedic Association). All assessmentswere performed preoperativelyandatpostoperative 1, 2, 3, and 6 wk, and 3, 6, and 12 mo. Comparative analysis was performed via analysis of variance adjusted by baseline scores, sex, and age as covariates.

RESULTS: A total of 35 patients were recruited and randomized to collar use (n = 16) and without (n = 19). There were no dropouts or complications. There were no differences between groups at baseline. Subjects had comparable objective scores and range of motion at postoperative time-points. Patientswithout collar use had higher VAS at postoperative 1 wk (5.4 vs 3.5; P = .038) and 2 wk (3.5 vs 1.5; P = .028) but subsequently follow-up revealed no differences between the 2 groups.

CONCLUSION: The use of a rigid collar after laminoplasty leads to less axial neck pain in the first 2 wk after surgery. However, there is no additional benefit with regards to range of motion, quality of life, and complication risk.

Comparison of Outcomes Following Anterior vs Posterior Fusion Surgery for Patients With Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy

Neurosurgery, 84 (4) 919–926. 2019

The choice of anterior vs posterior approach for degenerative cervical myelopathy that spans multiple segments remains controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the outcomes following the 2 approaches using multicenter prospectively collected data.

METHODS: Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) for patients undergoing surgery for 3 to 5 level degenerative cervicalmyelopathywas analyzed. The anterior group (anterior cervical discectomy [ACDF] or corpectomy [ACCF] with fusion) was compared with posterior cervical fusion. Outcomes included: patient reported outcomes (PROs): neck disability index (NDI), numeric rating scale (NRS) of neck pain and arm pain, EQ-5D, modified Japanese Orthopedic Association score for myelopathy (mJOA), and NASS satisfaction questionnaire; hospital length of stay (LOS), 90-d readmission, and return to work (RTW). Multivariable regression models were fitted for outcomes.

RESULTS: Of total 245 patients analyzed, 163 patients underwent anterior surgery (ACDF- 116, ACCF-47) and 82 underwent posterior surgery. Patients undergoing an anterior approach had lower odds of having higher LOS (P < .001, odds ratio 0.16, 95% confidence interval 0.08-0.30). The 12-moNDI, EQ-5D,NRS,mJOA, and satisfaction scores aswell as 90-d readmission and RTW did not differ significantly between anterior and posterior groups.

CONCLUSION: Patients undergoing anterior approaches for 3 to 5 level degenerative cervical myelopathy had shorter hospital LOS compared to those undergoing posterior decompression and fusion. Also, patients in both groups exhibited similar long-term PROs, readmission, and RTW rates. Further investigations are needed to compare the differences in longer term reoperation rates and functional outcomes before the clinical superiority of one approach over the other can be established.

Greenstick fracture technique to correct kyphosis

Although posterior decompressive surgery is widely used to treat patients with cervical myelopathy and multilevel ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL), a poor outcome is anticipated if the sagittal alignment is kyphotic (or K-line negative). Accordingly, it is mandatory to perform anterior decompression and fusion in patients with cervical kyphosis. However, it can be difficult to perform anterior surgery because of the high risk of complications. This present report proposes a novel “greenstick fracture technique” to change the K-line from negative to positive in patients with cervical myelopathy, OPLL, and kyphotic deformity.

METHODS Four patients with cervical myelopathy, continuous-type OPLL, and kyphotic sagittal alignment (who were K-line negative) were indicated for surgery. Posterior laminectomy and lateral mass screw insertions using a posterior approach were performed, followed by anterior surgery. Multilevel discectomy and thinning of the OPLL mass by bur drilling was performed, then an intentional greenstick fracture at each disc level was made to convert the cervical K-line from negative to positive. Finally, posterior instrumentation using a rod was carried out to maintain cervical lordosis.

RESULTS MRI showed complete decompression of the cord by posterior migration in all cases, which had been caused by cervical lordosis. Restoration of neurological defects was confirmed at the 1-year follow-up assessment. No specific complications were identified that were associated with this technique.

CONCLUSIONS A greenstick fracture technique may be effective and safe when applied to patients with cervical myelopathy, continuous-type OPLL, and kyphotic deformity (K-line negative). However, further studies with more cases will be required to reveal its generalizability and safety.

Effect of Surgery on Gait and Sensory Motor Performance in Patients With Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy

Evaluation of spinal cord compression and hyperintense intramedullary lesions on T2-weighted sequences in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy using flexion-extension MRI protocol

Neurosurgery 79:701–707, 2016

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is a common disease of aging that leads to gait instability resulting from loss of leg sensory and motor functions. The results of surgical intervention have been studied using a variety of methods, but no test has been reported that objectively measures integrative leg motor sensory functions in CSM patients.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the feasibility of using a novel single leg squat (SLS) test to measure integrative motor sensory functions in patients with CSM before and after surgery.
METHODS: Fifteen patients with CSM were enrolled in this prospective study. Clinical data and scores from standard outcomes questionnaires were obtained before and after surgery. Patients also participated in experimental test protocols consisting of standard kinematic gait testing, the Purdue pegboard test, and the novel SLS test.
RESULTS: The SLS test protocol was well tolerated by CSM patients and generated objective performance data over short test periods. In patients who participated in postoperative testing, the group measures of mean SLS errors decreased following surgery. Gait velocity measures followed a similar pattern of group improvement postoperatively. Practical barriers to implementing this extensive battery of tests resulted in subject attrition over time. Compared with kinematic gait testing, the SLS protocol required less space and could be effectively implemented more efficiently.
CONCLUSIONS: The SLS test provides a practical means of obtaining objective measures of leg motor sensory functions in patients with CSM. Additional testing with a larger cohort of patients is required to use SLS data to rigorously examine group treatment effects.



Cervical disc arthroplasty with PRESTIGE LP disc versus anterior cervical discectomy and fusion

Cervical disc arthroplasty with PRESTIGE LP disc versus anterior cervical discectomy and fusion

J Neurosurg Spine 23:558–573, 2015

This study compared the safety and efficacy of treatment with the PRESTIGE LP cervical disc versus a historical control anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

METHODS Prospectively collected PRESTIGE LP data from 20 investigational sites were compared with data from 265 historical control ACDF patients in the initial PRESTIGE Cervical Disc IDE study. The 280 investigational patients with single-level cervical disc disease with radiculopathy and/or myelopathy underwent arthroplasty with a low-profile artificial disc. Key safety/efficacy outcomes included Neck Disability Index (NDI), Neck and Arm Pain Numerical Rating Scale scores, 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) score, work status, disc height, range of motion, adverse events (AEs), additional surgeries, and neurological status. Clinical and radiographic evaluations were completed preoperatively, intraoperatively, and at 1.5, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively. Predefined Bayesian statistical methods with noninformative priors were used, along with the propensity score technique for controlling confounding factors. Analysis by independent statisticians confirmed initial statistical findings.

RESULTS The investigational and control groups were mostly similar demographically. There was no significant difference in blood loss (51.0 ml [investigational] vs 57.1 ml [control]) or hospital stay (0.98 days [investigational] vs 0.95 days [control]). The investigational group had a significantly longer operative time (1.49 hours vs 1.38 hours); 95% Bayesian credible interval of the difference was 0.01–0.21 hours. Significant improvements versus preoperative in NDI, neck/arm pain, SF-36, and neurological status were achieved by 1.5 months in both groups and were sustained at 24 months. Patient follow-up at 24 months was 97.1% for the investigational group and 84.0% for the control group. The mean NDI score improvements versus preoperative exceeded 30 points in both groups at 12 and 24 months. SF-36 Mental Component Summary superiority was established (Bayesian probability 0.993). The mean SF-36 PCS scores improved by 14.3 points in the investigational group and by 11.9 points in the control group from baseline to 24 months postoperatively. Neurological success at 24 months was 93.5% in the investigational group and 83.5% in the control group (probability of superiority ~ 1.00). At 24 months, 12.1% of investigational and 15.5% of control patients had an AE classified as device or device/surgical procedure related; 14 (5.0%) investigational and 21 (7.9%) control patients had a second surgery at the index level. The median return-to-work time for the investigational group was 40 days compared with 60 days for the control group (p = 0.020 after adjusting for preoperative work status and propensity score). Following implantation of the PRESTIGE LP device, the mean angular motion was maintained at 12 months (7.9°) and 24 months (7.5°). At 24 months, 90.0% of investigational and 87.7% of control patients were satisfied with the results of surgery. PRESTIGE LP superiority on overall success (without disc height success), a composite safety/efficacy end point, was strongly supported with 0.994 Bayesian probability.

CONCLUSIONS This device maintains mean postoperative segmental motion while providing the potential for biomechanical stability. Investigational patients reported significantly improved clinical outcomes compared with baseline, at least noninferior to ACDF, up to 24 months after surgery.

Abnormal Findings on Magnetic Resonance Images of the Cervical Spines in 1211 Asymptomatic Subjects

Abnormal Findings on Magnetic Resonance Images of the Cervical Spines in 1211 Asymptomatic Subjects-1

Spine 2015;40:392–398

Study Design. Cross-sectional study.

Objective. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and distribution of abnormal fi ndings on cervical spine magnetic resonance image (MRI).

Summary of Background Data. Neurological symptoms and abnormal findings on MR images are keys to diagnose the spinal diseases. To determine the significance of MRI abnormalities, we must take into account the (1) frequency and (2) spectrum of structural abnormalities, which may be asymptomatic. However, no large-scale study has documented abnormal fi ndings of the cervical spine on MR image in asymptomatic subjects.

Methods. MR images were analyzed for the anteroposterior spinal cord diameter, disc bulging diameter, and axial cross-sectional area of the spinal cord in 1211 healthy volunteers. The age of healthy volunteers prospectively enrolled in this study ranged from 20 to 70 years, with approximately 100 individuals per decade, per sex. These data were used to determine the spectrum and degree of disc bulging, spinal cord compression (SCC), and increased signal intensity changes in the spinal cord.

Results. Most subjects presented with disc bulging (87.6%), which signifi cantly increased with age in terms of frequency, severity,and number of levels. Even most subjects in their 20s had bulging discs, with 73.3% and 78.0% of males and females, respectively. In contrast, few asymptomatic subjects were diagnosed with SCC (5.3%) or increased signal intensity (2.3%). These numbers increased with age, particularly after age 50 years. SCC mainly involved 1 level (58%) or 2 levels (38%), and predominantly occurred at C5– C6 (41%) and C6–C7 (27%).

Conclusion. Disc bulging was frequently observed in asymptomatic subjects, even including those in their 20s. The number of patients with minor disc bulging increased from age 20 to 50 years. In contrast, the frequency of SCC and increased signal intensity increased after age 50 years, and this was accompanied by increased severity of disc bulging.

Level of Evidence: 2

Cervical spine alignment, sagittal deformity, and clinical implications

cervical malalignement

This paper is a narrative review of normal cervical alignment, methods for quantifying alignment, and how alignment is associated with cervical deformity, myelopathy, and adjacent-segment disease (ASD), with discussions of health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

Popular methods currently used to quantify cervical alignment are discussed including cervical lordosis, sagittal vertical axis, and horizontal gaze with the chin-brow to vertical angle.

Cervical deformity is examined in detail as deformities localized to the cervical spine affect, and are affected by, other parameters of the spine in preserving global sagittal alignment. An evolving trend is defining cervical sagittal alignment.

Evidence from a few recent studies suggests correlations between radiographic parameters in the cervical spine and HRQOL. Analysis of the cervical regional alignment with respect to overall spinal pelvic alignment is critical. The article details mechanisms by which cervical kyphotic deformity potentially leads to ASD and discusses previous studies that suggest how postoperative sagittal malalignment may promote ASD.

Further clinical studies are needed to explore the relationship of cervical malalignment and the development of ASD. Sagittal alignment of the cervical spine may play a substantial role in the development of cervical myelopathy as cervical deformity can lead to spinal cord compression and cord tension. Surgical correction of cervical myelopathy should always take into consideration cervical sagittal alignment, as decompression alone may not decrease cord tension induced by kyphosis. Awareness of the development of postlaminectomy kyphosis is critical as it relates to cervical myelopathy.

The future direction of cervical deformity correction should include a comprehensive approach in assessing global cervicalpelvic relationships. Just as understanding pelvic incidence as it relates to lumbar lordosis was crucial in building our knowledge of thoracolumbar deformities, T-1 incidence and cervical sagittal balance can further our understanding of cervical deformities. Other important parameters that account for the cervical-pelvic relationship are surveyed in detail, and it is recognized that all such parameters need to be validated in studies that correlate HRQOL outcomes following cervical deformity correction.

Anterior Cervical Reconstruction With Pedicle Screws After a 4-Level Corpectomy

Spine 2012 ; 37 : E927 – E930

Anterior reconstruction after multilevel corpectomy is a challenging technique, and there are many reports on its complications. Graft dislodgement is one of the major complications after long cervical fusion. The main cause of failure seems to be a lack of stability in the conventional reconstruction technique. However, pedicle screws for posterior cervical reconstruction show remarkable stability. We describe a new technique of anterior cervical reconstruction with pedicle screws and fibular strut grafting.

Methods. Seven patients with multilevel cervical myelopathy were treated with this new reconstruction technique after a 4-level corpectomy. We describe this new technique and review the patients’ clinical history, results of radiographical imaging, and outcomes. Clinical outcomes were assessed preoperatively and at 3 months postoperatively. Postoperative radiographs were assessed 3 months and 6 months postoperatively.

Results. The mean operative time was 182 minutes and the mean blood loss was 271 mL. The average Japanese Orthopaedic Association score for cervical myelopathy improved from 11.5 points preoperatively to 14.5 points 3 months postoperatively. No patients experienced major complications, such as neurological deterioration, infection, or massive blood loss. There was no case of reconstruction failure, graft dislodgement, migration, or screw displacement.

Conclusion. To our knowledge, this is the first description of an anterior cervical reconstruction approach, using pedicle screws and fibular strut grafting after a 4-level corpectomy. It is likely that this technique will result in better clinical outcomes with fewer complications in the treatment of patients with multilevel cervical myelopathy.

Cervical decompression and reconstruction without intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring

J Neurosurg Spine 16:107–113, 2012. DOI: 10.3171/2011.10.SPINE11199

The primary goal of this study was to review the immediate postoperative neurological function in patients surgically treated for symptomatic cervical spine disease without intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring. The secondary goal was to assess the economic impact of intraoperative monitoring (IOM) in this patient population.

Methods. This study is a retrospective review of 720 consecutively treated patients who underwent cervical spine procedures. The patients were identified and the data were collected by individuals who were not involved in their care.

Results. A total of 1534 cervical spine levels were treated in 720 patients using anterior, posterior, and combined (360°) approaches. Myelopathy was present preoperatively in 308 patients. There were 185 patients with increased signal intensity within the spinal cord on preoperative T2-weighted MR images, of whom 43 patients had no clinical evidence of myelopathy. Three patients (0.4%) exhibited a new neurological deficit postoperatively. Of these patients, 1 had a preoperative diagnosis of radiculopathy, while the other 2 were treated for myelopathy. The new postoperative deficits completely resolved in all 3 patients and did not require additional treatment. The Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for IOM during cervical decompression include 95925 and 95926 for somatosensory evoked potential monitoring of the upper and lower extremities, respectively, as well as 95928 and 95929 for motor evoked potential monitoring of the upper and lower extremities. In addition to the charge for the baseline [monitoring] study, patients are charged hourly for ongoing electrophysiology testing and monitoring using the CPT code 95920. Based on these codes and assuming an average of 4 hours of monitoring time per surgical case, the savings realized in this group of patients was estimated to be $1,024,754.

Conclusions. With the continuing increase in health care costs, it is our responsibility as providers to minimize expenses when possible. This should be accomplished without compromising the quality of care to patients. This study demonstrates that decompression and reconstruction for symptomatic cervical spine disease without IOM may reduce the cost of treatment without adversely impacting patient safety.

Postoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging Can Predict Neurological Recovery After Surgery for Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy: A Prospective Study With Blinded Assessments

Neurosurgery 69:362–368, 2011 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31821a418

Factors that can predict the recovery of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) patients postoperatively are of significant interest to physicians and patients and their families. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are a common method of examination after surgery, and thus of interest as a predictor of outcome.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether findings on MRI at 6 months postoperatively could predict recovery at 1 year in CSM patients.

METHODS: In 52 consecutive prospective patients, MRI was performed preoperatively and 6 months postoperatively. T1 and T2 signal change (area, height, and segmentation) and spinal cord re-expansion were measured. Outcome measures evaluated at 1 year postoperatively were compared with preoperative values. Univariate and stepwise multiple regressions were undertaken.

RESULTS: Using univariate analysis, patients whose cord failed to re-expand had poorer outcome according to the modified Japanese Orthopedic Association score and Nurick score (P = .014) and grip test (P = .006) postoperatively. Stepwise multivariate regression showed lack of cord re-expansion to be predictive of prognosis postoperatively in the modified Japanese Orthopedic Association score (P = .013) and Berg Balance Scale (P = .014), and walking test (P = .011). Postoperative hyperintense T2 signal change was predictive of worse outcome on the Berg Balance Scale (P = .014) and walking test (P = .020), Nurick score (P = .001), and Short Form-36 scores (P = .020). In cases in which the T2 signal intensified, there was a poorer outcome on Nurick scores (P = .013), grip test (P = .017), and Short Form-36 scores (P = .030).

CONCLUSION: Findings on postoperative MRI at 6 months is of predictive value in determining outcomes in CSM patients. The persistence and type of T2 signal change and lack of re-expansion of the cord correlate with poorer recovery and likely reflect irreversible structural changes in the spinal cord.

Diffusion tensor imaging in the cervical spinal cord

Eur Spine J (2011) 20:422–428. DOI 10.1007/s00586-010-1587-3

There are discrepancy between MR findings and clinical presentations. The compressed cervical cord in patients of the spondylotic myelopathy may be normal on conventional MRI when it is at the earlier stage or even if patients had severe symptoms. Therefore, it is necessary to take a developed MR technique—diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)—to detect the intramedullary lesions.

Prospective MR and DTI were performed in 53 patients with cervical compressive myelopathy and twenty healthy volunteers. DTI was performed along six non-collinear directions with single-shot spin echo echo-planar imaging (EPI) sequence. Intramedullary apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) values were measured in four segments (C2/3, C3/4, C4/5, C5/6) for volunteers, in lesions (or the compressed cord) and normal cord for patients. DTI original images were processed to produce color DTI maps.

In the volunteers’ group, cervical cord exhibited blue on the color DTI map. FA values between four segments had a significant difference (P<0.01), with the highest FA value (0.85 ±  0.03) at C2/3 level. However, ADC value between them had no significant difference (P> 0.05). For patients, only 24 cases showed hyperintense on T2-weighted image, while 39 cases shown patchy green signal on color DTI maps. ADC and FA values between lesions or the compressed cord and normal spinal cord of patients had a significant difference (both P< 0.01). FA value at C2/3 cord is the highest of other segments and it gradually decreases towards the caudal direction. Using single-shot spin echo EPI sequence and six non-collinear diffusion directions with b  value of 400 s mm-2 ,

DTI can clearly show the intramedullary microstructure and more lesions than conventional MRI.

Surgical results of cervical myelopathy in patients older than 80 years of age

J Neurosurg Spine 11:421–426, 2009. DOI: 10.3171/2009.4.SPINE08584

In this prospective analysis the authors describe the clinical results of surgical treatment in patients > 80 years of age in whom spinal function was evaluated with motor evoked potential (MEPs) monitoring.

Methods. The authors included 57 patients > 80 years of age who were suspected of having cervical myelopathy. The mean age of the patients was 83.0 years (range 80–90 years). The central motor conduction time (CMCT) was calculated from the latencies of the MEPs following transcranial magnetic stimulation and from M and F waves fol- lowing peripheral nerve stimulation.

Results. Preoperative electrophysiological evaluation demonstrated significant elongation of CMCT or abnor- malities in MEP waveforms in 37 patients (65%), and 35 patients of these underwent laminoplasty. In 30 patients cervical spondylotic myelopathy was diagnosed and 5 patients ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament was diagnosed. The preoperative mean Japanese Orthopaedic Association Scale score was 8.6 (range 3–12.5) and the mean postoperative score was 12.6 (range 6–14.5) with an average recovery rate of 45% (range −21 to 100%). There were no major complications in any of the patients during the operative period and there were no cases of death resulting from operative intervention.

Conclusions. Sufficient clinical results are expected even in patients with myelopathy who are older than 80 years of age, provided the patients are correctly selected by electrophysiological evaluation with MEPs and CMCT.

Comparative study of anterior versus posterior decompression in elderly patients of cervical myelopathy with co-morbid conditions

Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol (2009) 19:397–401 DOI 10.1007/s00590-009-0444-8

Study design: Prospective.

Objective: To assess the results of laminectomy in patients suffering from multilevel multidirectional compressive cervical myelopathy with co-morbid conditions and to compare results of anterior and laminectomy clinically, radiologically and functionally.

Summary of background data: Cervical myelopathy or myeloradiculopathy is a progressive degenerative disorder that usually starts in the middle age. It leads to circumferential cord compression leading to a constellation of signs and symptoms.

Methods: Prospective study of 30 cases in which we had compared the results of anterior and posterior decompression surgery. Our follow-up ranged from 18 to 60 months with an average follow-up of 31.8 months.

Results: Eighteen patients underwent laminectomy by posterior midline approach in which lamina and if required, medial one-third of the facet was also removed. Diskectomy and bone grafting was done in eight patients by standard anterior approach with removal of disc at two or three levels. Corpectomy and diskectomy above and below with bone grafting was done in four patients. Out of these two were fused with tricortical iliac crest and two with fibula.

Conclusion: Anterior decompression is the gold standard. However, in medically unfit patients with multi-level circumferential compression, laminectomy is an equally rewarding option.