Biportal endoscopic cervical open‑door laminoplasty to treat cervical spondylotic myelopathy

Acta Neurochirurgica (2024) 166:182

Although cervical laminoplasty is a frequently utilized surgical intervention for cervical spondylotic myelopathy, it is primarily performed using conventional open surgical techniques. We attempted the minimally invasive cervical laminoplasty using biportal endoscopic approach.

Methods Contralateral lamina access is facilitated by creating space through spinous process drilling, followed by lamina hinge formation. Subsequently, the incised lamina is elevated from ipsilateral aspect, and secure metal plate fixation is performed.

Conclusion We successfully performed the cervical open door laminoplasty using biportal endoscopic approach. Biportal endoscopic cervical open-door laminoplasty may be a minimally invasive technique that can prevent complications related with open surgery.

Clinical Characteristics, Outcomes, and Pathology Analysis in Patients With Dorsal Arachnoid Web

Neurosurgery 90:581–587, 2022

Dorsal arachnoid webs (DAWs) are rare pathological abnormalities of the arachnoid layer of the spinal cord that can result in pain and myelopathy.

OBJECTIVE: To present clinical, imaging, and pathological characteristics of patients diagnosed with DAW, case illustrations, and a review of the literature.

METHODS: Seventeen cases of DAW between 2015 and 2019 at a tertiary medical center were retrospectively identified through a case log search. Patient characteristics, preoperative imaging, operative notes, and pathology reports were collected. Our main outcome assessed was postoperative resolution of symptoms. Odds ratios were used to determine associations between preoperative signs and symptoms with postoperative symptom resolution.

RESULTS: The mean age of the cohort was 50.5 years (IQR = 16) and presented primarily with back pain (64.7%). On imaging, all patients were found to have the “scalpel sign,” and nearly half had a syrinx present (41.2%). All DAWs were located in the thoracic spine, with the most common location being the midthoracic (70.6%). The mean follow-up length for all patients was 4.3 months. There were no preoperative symptoms significantly associated with postoperative symptom resolution; however, a trend was noted with the presence of a preoperative syrinx. Pathology samples consistently demonstrated fibroconnective or collagenous tissue with no evidence of inflammation or neoplasm.

CONCLUSION: DAW is a rare pathology that can result in myelopathy or inappropriate interventions if misdiagnosed. Surgical intervention using laminectomy with intradural exploration should be considered in symptomatic patients with DAW because it is curative with a strong chance of preoperative symptom resolution with relatively low complication rates.

Spinal Arachnoid Webs

Neurosurgery 89:917–927, 2021

Spinal arachnoid webs are rarely described bands of thickened arachnoid tissue in the dorsal thoracic spine. Much is unknown regarding their origins, risk factors, natural history, and outcomes.

OBJECTIVE: To present the single largest case series, detailing presenting symptoms and outcomes amongst operative and nonoperative patients, to better understand the role of intervention.

METHODS: This retrospective chart review identified 38 patients with arachnoid webs. Patient demographics, radiologic signs, symptoms, and surgical history data were extracted from the electronic medical record. Symptoms were divided by location and character. 28 patients were successfully contacted for follow up outcome surveys.

RESULTS: 26 patients (68%) underwent surgical intervention, 12 (32%) were managed non-operatively. 15 (39%) patients had undergone a previous unsuccessful surgery at a different site for their symptoms prior to arachnoid web diagnosis. Commonly presenting symptoms included myelopathy (68%), focal thoracic back pain (68%), lower extremity weakness (45%), numbness and sensory changes (58%), and lower extremity radicular pain (42%), upper extremity weakness (24%), and radicular pain (37%). Focal thoracic pain was associated with thoracic level (P < .02). Myelopathic symptoms were less common in postoperative patients. Postoperative patients described significantly more upper extremity (P < .01) and thoracic (P < .01) numbness and paresthesias. Surveyed nonoperative patients universally described their symptoms as either stable orworsening.

CONCLUSION: Spinal arachnoid webs present with thoracic myelopathy and back pain but can also present with upper extremity symptoms. Surgical intervention stabilizes or improves symptoms and is well received. Nonoperative patients do not spontaneously improve.

 

Effectiveness of Surgical Decompression in Patients With Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy

Neurosurgery 89:844–851, 2021

Conflicting evidence exists regarding the effectiveness of surgery for degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM), particularly in mild DCM.

OBJECTIVE: To prospectively evaluate the impact of surgery on patient-reported outcomes in patients with mild (modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association [mJOA]≥15), moderate (mJOA 12-14), and severe (mJOA < 12) DCM.

METHODS: Prospective, multicenter cohort study of patients with DCM who underwent surgery between 2015 and 2019 and completed 1-yr follow-up. Outcome measures (mJOA, Neck Disability Index [NDI], EuroQol-5D [EQ-5D], Short Form [SF-12] Physical Component Score [PCS]/Mental Component Score [MCS], numeric rating scale [NRS] neck, and arm pain) were assessed at 3 and 12 mo postoperatively and compared to baseline, stratified by DCM severity. Changes in outcome measures that were statistically significant (P < .05) and met their respective minimum clinically important differences (MCIDs) were deemed clinically meaningful. Responder analysis was performed to compare the proportion of patients betweenDCMseverity groups whomet the MCID for each outcome measure.

RESULTS: The cohort comprised 391 patients: 110 mild, 163 moderate, and 118 severe. At 12 mo after surgery, severe DCM patients experienced significant improvements in all outcome measures; moderate DCM patients improved in mJOA, NDI, EQ-5D, and PCS; mild DCM patients improved in EQ-5D and PCS. There was no significant difference between severity groups in the proportion of patients reaching MCID at 12 mo after surgery for any outcome measure, except NDI.

CONCLUSION: At 12 mo after surgery, patients with mild, moderate, and severe DCM all demonstrated improved outcomes. Severe DCM patients experienced the greatest breadth of improvement, but the proportion of patients in each severity group achieving clinically meaningful changes did not differ significantly across most outcome measures.

Does Myelopathy Increase the Morbidity and Mortality of Elective Single-Level Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion?

Neurosurgery 89:109–115, 2021

Myelopathy is thought to be associated with higher morbidity and mortality after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF); however, the literature investigating this association has limitations.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the influence of myelopathy on early perioperative complications of elective single-level ACDF.

METHODS: Patients who underwent ACDF between 2016 and 2018 were reviewed from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACSNSQIP) database. Propensity score matching analysis was used.

RESULTS: Twenty percent of the cohort wasmyelopathic. These patientswere significantly older, had more comorbidities, more likely to be functionally dependent, and to undergo emergency surgery when compared to the nonmyelopathic cohort. When 1969 myelopathic patients were 1:1 propensity matched with nonmyelopathic patients, there was no difference between themyelopathic and nonmyelopathic patients in incidence of postoperative intensive care unit admission or death. Patients in the myelopathic group were significantly more likely to have a nonhome discharge and less likely to be discharged on the first postoperative day. Myelopathic patients had a higher rate of return to operating room within the same admission (2.2%) as well as a higher unplanned readmission rate (4.2%). The total operation time (143 min) and average length of hospital stay (52 h) were significantly higher in the myelopathic group when compared to the nonmyelopathic group (117 min) and (33 h), respectively.

CONCLUSION: Patients with myelopathy who undergo elective single-level ACDF have higher risks of several perioperative events including longer operative time, longer hospital stay, higher return to operating room, and unplanned readmission rates, when compared to nonmyelopathic patients. On the other hand, myelopathic patients did not exhibit higher mortality rate.

Two-level cervical disc arthroplasty versus anterior cervical discectomy and fusion: 10-year outcomes of a prospective, randomized investigational device exemption clinical trial

J Neurosurg Spine 31:508–518, 2019

The authors assessed the 10-year clinical safety and effectiveness of cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) to treat degenerative cervical spine disease at 2 adjacent levels compared to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

METHODS A prospective, randomized, controlled, multicenter FDA-approved clinical trial was conducted comparing the low-profile titanium ceramic composite–based Prestige LP Cervical Disc (n = 209) at two levels with ACDF (n = 188). Ten-year follow-up data from a postapproval study were available on 148 CDA and 118 ACDF patients and are reported here. Clinical and radiographic evaluations were completed preoperatively, intraoperatively, and at regular postoperative follow-up intervals for up to 10 years. The primary endpoint was overall success, a composite variable that included key safety and efficacy considerations. Ten-year follow-up rates were 86.0% for CDA and 84.9% for ACDF.

RESULTS From 2 to 10 years, CDA demonstrated statistical superiority over ACDF for overall success, with rates at 10 years of 80.4% versus 62.2%, respectively (posterior probability of superiority [PPS] = 99.9%). Neck Disability Index (NDI) success was also superior, with rates at 10 years of 88.4% versus 76.5% (PPS = 99.5%), as was neurological success (92.6% vs 86.1%; PPS = 95.6%). Improvements from preoperative results in NDI and neck pain scores were consistently statistically superior for CDA compared to ACDF. All other study effectiveness measures were at least noninferior for CDA compared to ACDF through the 10-year follow-up period, including disc height. Mean angular ranges of motion at treated levels were maintained in the CDA group for up to 10 years. The rates of grade IV heterotopic ossification (HO) at the superior and inferior levels were 8.2% and 10.3%, respectively. The rate of severe HO (grade III or IV) did not increase significantly from 7 years (42.4%) to 10 years (39.0%). The CDA group had fewer serious (grade 3–4) implantrelated or implant/surgical procedure–related adverse events (3.8% vs 8.1%; posterior mean 95% Bayesian credible interval [BCI] of the log hazard ratio [LHR] -0.92 [-1.88, -0.01]). The CDA group also had statistically fewer secondary surgical procedures at the index levels (4.7%) than the ACDF group (17.6%) (LHR [95% BCI] -1.39 [-2.15, -0.61]) as well as at adjacent levels (9.0% vs 17.9%).

CONCLUSIONS The Prestige LP Cervical Disc, implanted at two adjacent levels, maintains improved clinical outcomes and segmental motion 10 years after surgery and is a safe and effective alternative to fusion.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00637156 (clinicaltrials.gov)

NuNec™ Cervical Disc Arthroplasty Improves Quality of Life in Cervical Radiculopathy and Myelopathy: A 2-Year Follow-up

Neurosurgery 83:422–428, 2018

Anterior cervical disc replacement is an alternative to fusion for the treatment of selected cases of radiculopathy andmyelopathy. We report clinical and radiological outcomes after disc replacement with the NuNec™ artificial cervical disc (Pioneer (R)  Surgical Technology, Marquette, Michigan) with subgroup analysis.

OBJECTIVE: To review clinical and radiological outcomes after anterior cervical disc replacement with the NuNec™ artificial cervical disc.

METHODS: A consecutive case series of patients undergoing cervical disc replacement with the NuNec™ artificial disc was conducted. Clinical outcomes were assessed by questionnaires preoperatively and up to 2 yr postoperatively including neck and arm pain, Neck Disability Index, Euroqol 5-dimensions, and Short Form-36; x-rays from the same period were analyzed for range of movement and presence of heterotopic ossification.

RESULTS: A total of 44 NuNec™ discs were implanted in 33 patients. Clinical improvements were seen in all outcomes; significant improvements on the Neck Disability Index, Euroqol 5-dimensions, and physical domain of the Short Form-36 were maintained at 2 yr. There was a mean of 4◦ range of movement at the replacement disc level at 2 yr, a significant reduction from baseline; there was also progression in levels of heterotopic ossification. Complications included temporary dysphagia (10%) and progression of disease requiring foraminotomy (6%); no surgery for adjacent level disease was required. There was no significant difference in the outcomes of the radiculopathy and myelopathy groups.

CONCLUSION: Clinical outcomes using the NuNec™ disc replacement are comparable with other disc replacements. Although the range of movement is reduced, the reoperation rate is very low.

Reliability assessment of a novel cervical spine deformity classification system

Cervical spine deformity classification

J Neurosurg Spine 23:673–683, 2015

Despite the complexity of cervical spine deformity (CSD) and its signifi cant impact on patient quality of life, there exists no comprehensive classification system. The objective of this study was to develop a novel classification system based on a modified Delphi approach and to characterize the intra- and interobserver reliability of this classification.

Methods: Based on an extensive literature review and a modified Delphi approach with an expert panel, a CSD classification system was generated. The classification system included a deformity descriptor and 5 modifiers that incorporated sagittal, regional, and global spinopelvic alignment and neurological status. The descriptors included: “C,” “CT,” and “T” for primary cervical kyphotic deformities with an apex in the cervical spine, cervicothoracic junction, or thoracic spine, respectively; “S” for primary coronal deformity with a coronal Cobb angle ≥ 15°; and “CVJ” for primary craniovertebral junction deformity. The modifiers included C2–7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA), horizontal gaze (chin-brow to vertical angle [CBVA]), T1 slope (TS) minus C2–7 lordosis (TS-CL), myelopathy (modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association [mJOA] scale score), and the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)-Schwab classification for thoracolumbar deformity. Application of the classification system requires the following: 1) full-length standing posteroanterior (PA) and lateral spine radiographs that include the cervical spine and femoral heads; 2) standing PA and lateral cervical spine radiographs; 3) completed and scored mJOA questionnaire; and 4) a clinical photograph or radiograph that includes the skull for measurement of the CBVA. A series of 10 CSD cases, broadly representative of the classification system, were selected and sufficient radiographic and clinical history to enable classification were assembled. A panel of spinal deformity surgeons was queried to classify each case twice, with a minimum of 1 intervening week. Inter- and intrarater reliability measures were based on calculations of Fleiss k coefficient values.

Results: Twenty spinal deformity surgeons participated in this study. Interrater reliability (Fleiss k coefficients) for the deformity descriptor rounds 1 and 2 were 0.489 and 0.280, respectively, and mean intrarater reliability was 0.584.

For the modifiers, including the SRS-Schwab components, the interrater (round 1/round 2) and intrarater reliabilities (Fleiss k coef cients) were: C2–7 SVA (0.338/0.412, 0.584), horizontal gaze (0.779/0.430, 0.768), TS-CL (0.721/0.567, 0.720), myelopathy (0.602/0.477, 0.746), SRS-Schwab curve type (0.590/0.433, 0.564), pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis (0.554/0.386, 0.826), pelvic tilt (0.714/0.627, 0.633), and C7–S1 SVA (0.071/0.064, 0.233), respectively. The parameter with the poorest reliability was the C7–S1 SVA, which may have resulted from differences in interpretation of positive and negative measurements.

Conclusions: The proposed classification provides a mechanism to assess CSD within the framework of global spinopelvic malalignment and clinically relevant parameters. The intra- and interobserver reliabilities suggest moderate agreement and serve as the basis for subsequent improvement and study of the proposed classification.

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

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

The Spine Journal 15 (2015) 668–674

Acquired cervical stenosis is caused by the combination of disc protrusion, facet joint degeneration, hypertrophy of the ligamentum flavum, and osteophyte formation. Although these mechanical factors seem to play an important role in the pathogenesis of myelopathy, the role of dynamic factors has been suggested by many authors. Based on these results, dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was proposed to improve diagnostic techniques in patients with cervical myelopathy.

PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the importance of dynamic MRI in the assessment of cervical canal stenosis and to determine the percentage of levels in which cord impingement was only visible in the extension MRI and the percentage of cases in which hyperintense intramedullary lesions (HILs) were identified only on the flexion MRI.

STUDY DESIGN: This is a retrospective case series study.

PATIENT SAMPLE: Patients with spondylotic myelopathy who had dynamic cervical MRI at our department from October 2005 to February 2007 were included.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fifty-one consecutive patients with spondylotic myelopathy had MRI in the neutral, flexion, and extension positions of the cervical spine.

OUTCOME MEASURES: The following entities were evaluated: canal stenosis (the evaluation of the stenosis was based on the Muhle classification) and the presence or absence of HILs.

RESULTS: Two hundred fifty-five levels were evaluated in the three positions. At each level, the stages in extension were higher than the stages in neutral and flexion positions (p<.05). From C3 to C6, around 22.5% of Stage 3 levels in the extension were Stage 1 in the neutral position. In flexion, HILs are better identified than in neutral and extension positions (p<.05). In 10% of the patients, HILs were identified only in the flexion T2-weighted sequence.

CONCLUSIONS: Extension MRI helps to identify significant cervical canal stenosis that is partially or completely absent on neutral and flexion MRI and to determine the exact number of levels to decompress surgically. Flexion MRI permits better visualization of HILs on T2-weighted sequences.

Cervical extension magnetic resonance imaging in evaluating cervical spondylotic myelopathy

Cervical extension magnetic resonance imaging in evaluating

Acta Neurochir (2014) 156:259–266

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) may be caused by static and dynamic spinal cord compression, particularly during neck extension. Dynamic compression may be better evaluated with dynamic magnetic resonance (MR) images. We performed a retrospective study to determine the clinical indication for dynamic MR imaging, and conducted a survey regarding image interpretation by clinicians.

Method A total of 32 patients (M:F=20:12, 60.1±10.7 years) who had undergone neutral/extension cervical MR imaging were included. The study population consisted of 22 patients with signs of cervical myelopathy (M group) and 10 patients without signs of myelopathy (NM group). The number of compression levels (complete obliteration of the anterior and posterior subarachnoid space) was assessed at each level in mid-sagittal, T2-weighted, neutral and extension MR images. Reproduced images from 22 patients in the M group were randomly arranged, and four experienced spine surgeons at four different institutes interpreted them to reach a clinicians’ agreement. The agreements were then assessed with inter-rater correlation coefficients (ICC).

Results Analysis with extension MR images found an increased number of compression levels in 23/32 (72 %) of patients; 20/22 in the M group and 3/10 in the NM group (p <0.01, chi-squared test), as compared to findings of the neutral MR images. Clinical factors for increased compression levels in extension MR images were age (p<0.01, 63.3± 10.0 years vs. 51.9±8.1) and signs of myelopathy (p<0.01, odds ratio, 23.33). Clinician agreement was improved with extension MR images; ICC was 0.67 with neutral and 0.81 with extension MR images.

Conclusions The evaluation of CSM may be improved with dynamic MR images. Dynamic MR scanning may be considered for elderly patients with signs of myelopathy, but an interpretation for asymptomatic spinal compression based exclusively on extension MR image should be made with caution.

Surgical manifestations of thoracic arachnoid pathology

Thoracic arachnoid pathology

J Neurosurg Spine 20:30–40, 2014

Various pathologies involving the thoracic arachnoid mater uniformly manifest as thoracic myelopathy and may present a significant management dilemma. The authors undertook this study to assess outcome in cases of thoracic myelopathy due to thoracic arachnoid pathology.

Methods. The authors have cared for and followed 28 patients with thoracic myelopathy from thoracic arachnoid pathology over the last 17 years. A chart review and contemporary follow-up of these patients was performed and outcomes were reported.

Results. Patients with thoracic myelopathy from thoracic arachnoid pathology often have improvement in their condition after surgical decompression/detethering procedures. While not universal, patients in this series had improvement in mJOA scores at 1 year after surgery (p = 0.0001) and at last follow-up (p = 0.04). Results indicated that across a wide variety of pathologies the extent of thoracic spinal cord involvement is a predictor of the disease course and outcome. Comparison of the group of patients with cord involvement limited to 2 vertebral segments (short-segment pathology) versus the group with cord tethering of more than 2 segments (long-segment pathology) showed that patients in the short-segment group more frequently had ventral or dorsal arachnoid bands (p = 0.003), more frequently had signal change in the cord on MRI (p = 0.02), and less frequently presented with a syrinx (p = 0.02), and a smaller percentage of patients in this group underwent reoperation (p = 0.02). While patients with shortsegment pathology typically improved after a single operative intervention, patients with long-segment pathology typically improved after multiple operations, frequently for CSF diversion.

Conclusions. Thoracic arachnoid pathology causing thoracic cord dysfunction and myelopathy is varied, has multiple etiologies, and can be difficult to treat over the long term. Surgical management, when indicated, is case specific. Serial long-term follow-up is essential to document enduring clinical and radiographic success.

Cognard Type V Intracranial Dural Arteriovenous Shunt

Cognard Type V Intracranial Dural Arteriovenous Shunt

Neurosurgery 74:E135–E142, 2014

Prompt diagnosis of intracranial dural arteriovenous shunt (DAVS) with spinal venous drainage, classified as Cognard type V, is difficult. We investigated the angiographic and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) characteristics of Cognard type V DAVS to determine the reason for the difficulty in early diagnosis.

CLINICAL PRESENTATION: We systematically reviewed 54 published and 3 new cases of Cognard type V DAVS. The pattern of venous drainage was classified on the basis of relative dominance of the anterior and posterior spinal veins with the use of angiograms. T2-weighted sagittal MRIs were used to detect signal flow voids of enlarged spinal veins. Types of venous drainage were determined in 49 of the 57 cases. Twentyeight and 8 cases showed a dominance of anterior and posterior spinal venous drainage, respectively. In 13 cases, venous drainage was equally distributed through the anterior and posterior spinal veins. Of 41 cases with an abnormally dilated anterior spinal vein, MRIs were available for 25 cases. Signal flow voids of enlarged anterior spinal veins were detected in 9 cases (36.0%), whereas dilatation of the posterior spinal veins was apparent in 9 of 16 cases (56.3%). Overall, MRI detected enlargement of either anterior or posterior spinal veins in 15 of 41 cases (36.6%).

CONCLUSION: In Cognard type V DAVS, anterior venous drainage is dominant. Because the anterior spinal veins are located subpially, flow voids are less prominent on sagittal T2-weighted MRI. This may lead to difficulties in diagnosing. Evaluation with MR angiography may compensate for these limitations.

Arthroplasty Versus Fusion in Single-Level Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

Fusion

Spine 2013;38:E1096–E1107

Study Design. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Objective. To assess the effects of arthroplasty versus fusion in the treatment of radiculopathy or myelopathy, or both, due to singlelevel cervical degenerative disc disease.

Summary of Background Data. There is ongoing debate about whether fusion or arthroplasty is superior in the treatment of single-level cervical degenerative disc disease. Mainly because the intended advantage of arthroplasty compared with fusion, prevention of symptoms due to adjacent segment degeneration in the long term, is not confirmed yet. Until sufficient long-term results become available, it is important to know whether results of 1 of the 2 treatments are superior to the other in the first 1 to 2 years.

Methods. We searched electronic databases for randomized controlled trials. We included randomized controlled trials that directly compared any type of cervical fusion with any type of cervical arthroplasty, with at least 1 year of follow-up. Study selection was performed independently by 3 review authors, and “risk of bias” assessment and data extraction were independently performed by 2 review authors. In case of missing data, we contacted the study authors or the study sponsor. We assessed the quality of evidence.

Results. Nine studies (2400 participants) were included in this review; 5 of these studies had a low risk of bias. Results for the arthroplasty group were better than the fusion group for all primary comparisons, often statistically significant. For none of the primary outcomes was a clinically relevant difference in effect size shown. Quality of the evidence was low to moderate.

Conclusion. There is low to moderate quality evidence that results are consistently in favor of arthroplasty, often statistically significant. However, differences in effect size were invariably small and not clinically relevant for all primary outcomes.

Level of Evidence: 1

Ultrasonographic quantification of spinal cord and dural pulsations during cervical laminoplasty in patients with compressive myelopathy

Eur Spine J (2012) 21:2450–2455

Pulsatile movements of the dura mater have been interpreted as a sign that the cord is free within the subarachnoid space, with no extrinsic compression. However, the association between restoration of pulsation and adequate decompression of the spinal cord has not been established. The present study investigated the relationship between the extent of spinal cord decompression and spinal cord and dural pulsations based on quantitative analysis of intraoperative ultrasonography (US).

Methods Eighty-five consecutive patients (55 males, 30 females; mean age, 64 ± 13 years) who underwent cervical double-door laminoplasty to relieve compressive myelopathy were enrolled. Spinal cord decompression status was classified as: Type 1 (non-contact), the subarachnoid space was retained on the ventral side of the cord, Type 2 (contact and apart), the cord showed both contact with and separation from the anterior element of the cervical spine, or Type 3 (contact), the cord showed continuous contact with the anterior element of the cervical spine. Spinal cord and dura mater dynamics were quantitatively analyzed using automatic video-tracking software. Furthermore, the intensity of spinal and dural pulsation was compared with the recovery of motor function at 1 year after surgery as measured by increase in the Japanese Orthopaedic Association Cervical Myelopathy Evaluation Questionnaire (JOACMEQ).

Results Spinal cord pulsation amplitude ranged from 0.01 to 0.84 mm (mean 0.30 ± 0.16 mm) and dural pulsation amplitude ranged from 0.01 to 0.38 mm (mean 0.14 ± 0.08 mm). Average spinal cord pulsation amplitude in Type 2 patients was significantly larger than that in the other groups, whereas, average dural pulsation amplitudes were similar for all three groups. There was a significant correlation between spinal cord and dural pulsation amplitudes in Type 1 patients, but not in Type 2 or Type 3 patients. Type 3 patients showed a particularly poor correlation between spinal cord and dural pulsations. Spinal cord pulsation amplitude was moderately correlated with the recovery of motor function evaluated by JOACMEQ.

Conclusion The present results suggest that restoration of dural pulsation is not an adequate indicator of sufficient decompression of the spinal cord following a surgical procedure.

A Prospective, Randomized Trial Comparing Expansile Cervical Laminoplasty and Cervical Laminectomy and Fusion for Multilevel Cervical Myelopathy

Neurosurgery 70:264–277, 2012 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e3182305669

Controversy exists as to the best posterior operative procedure to treat multilevel compressive cervical spondylotic myelopathy.

OBJECTIVE: To determine clinical, radiological, and patient satisfaction outcomes between expansile cervical laminoplasty (ECL) and cervical laminectomy and fusion (CLF).

METHODS: We performed a prospective, randomized study of ECL vs CLF in patients suffering from cervical spondylotic myelopathy. End points included the Short Form-36, Neck Disability Index, Visual Analog Scale, modified Japanese Orthopedic Association score, Nurick score, and radiographic measures.

RESULTS: A survey of academic North American spine surgeons (n = 30) demonstrated that CLF is the most commonly used (70%) posterior procedure to treat multilevel spondylotic cervical myelopathy. A total of 16 patients were randomized: 7 to CLF and 9 to ECL. Both groups showed improvements in their Nurick grade and Japanese Orthopedic Association score postoperatively, but only the improvement in the Nurick grade for the ECL group was statistically significant (P < .05). The cervical range of motion between C2 and C7 was reduced by 75% in the CLF group and by only 20% in the ECL group in a comparison of preoperative and postoperative range of motion. The overall increase in canal area was significantly (P < .001) greater in the CLF group, but there was a suggestion that the adjacent level was more narrowed in the CLF group in as little as 1 year postoperatively.

CONCLUSION: In many respects, ECL compares favorably to CLF. Although the patient numbers were small, there were significant improvements in pain measures in the ECL group while still maintaining range of motion. Restoration of spinal canal area was superior in the CLF group.

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy associated with kyphosis or sagittal sigmoid alignment: outcome after anterior or posterior decompression

J Neurosurg Spine 11:521–528, 2009. DOI: 10.3171/2009.2.SPINE08385

The effects of sagittal kyphotic deformities or mechanical stress on the development of cervical spondylotic myelopathy, or the reduction and fusion of kyphotic sagittal alignment have not been consistently documented. The aim in this study was to determine the effects of kyphotic sagittal alignment of the cervical spine in terms of neurological morbidity and outcome after 2 types of surgical intervention.

Methods. The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 476 patients who underwent cervical spine surgeries for spondylotic myelopathy between 1993 and 2006 at their university medical center. Among these were identified 43 patients—30 men and 13 women, with a mean age of 58.8 years—who had cervical kyphosis exceeding 10° on preoperative sagittal lateral radiographs obtained in the neutral position, and their cases were analyzed in this study. Anterior decompression with interbody fusion was conducted in 28 patients, and en bloc open-door C3–7 laminoplasty in 15 patients. Both pre- and postoperative neurological, radiographic, and MR imaging findings were assessed in both surgical groups.

Results. The mean preoperative kyphotic angle in all 43 patients was 15.9 ± 5.9° in the neutral position. Seg- mental instability was noted in 26 patients (61%) and reversed dynamic spinal canal stenosis at the level above the local kyphosis in 22 (51%). Preoperative T2-weighted MR images showed high-intensity signal within the cord at and around the level of maximal compression or segmental instability in 28 patients (65%). The mean kyphotic angle in both the neutral and flexion positions was significantly smaller at 4–6 weeks after surgery in the anterior spondylectomy group than in the laminoplasty group (p < 0.001). Furthermore, the angle in the neutral position was significantly smaller on follow-up in the anterior spondylectomy group than in the laminoplasty group (p = 0.034). The transverse area of the spinal cord was significantly larger in the anterior spondylectomy group than in the lamino- plasty group on follow-up (p = 0.037). Preoperative neurological scores (assessed using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale) and improvement on follow-up ≥ 2 years after treatment (average 3.3 years) were not significantly different between the 2 groups; however, there was a significant difference in Japanese Orthopaedic Association score at 4–6 weeks postoperatively (p = 0.047).

Conclusions. Kyphotic deformity and mechanical stress in the cervical spine may play an important role in neurological dysfunction. In a select group of patients with kyphotic deformity ≥ 10°, adequate correction of local sagittal alignment may help to maximize the chance of neurological improvement