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J Clin Neurosci. 2013 Apr;20(4):570-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2012.04.016. Epub 2013 Jan 11.

Posterior decompression with transforaminal interbody fusion for thoracic myelopathy due to ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament and the ligamentum flavum at the same level.

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  • 1Department of Spine Surgery, Third Hospital of HeBei Medical University, 139 Ziqiang Road, Shijiazhuang 050051, China.


Our objective was to evaluate the clinical efficacy and feasibility of posterior decompression with transforaminal thoracic interbody fusion (PTTIF) for thoracic myelopathy caused by ossification of the ligamentum flavum (OLF) and ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) at the same level. Between March 2004 and December 2008, 13 patients (five men and eight women, average age: 56years, range: 39-72years) who underwent PTTIF for concurrent OLF and OPLL were studied retrospectively. The clinical efficacy, operative time, blood loss, sagittal alignment and complications were investigated. Cerebrospinal fluid leakage occurred in three patients, all of whom healed well after repair. One patient developed a urinary tract infection and one developed a wound infection, but both were cured with appropriate antibiotic therapy. Neurological symptom deterioration occurred in one patient, but she returned to her preoperative baseline after completing methylprednisolone therapy. After an average 36.8months follow up, the mean Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score significantly increased from 4.3±1.3 preoperatively to 7.2±1.8 at 3months after the operation and 8.5±1.7 at the final follow-up (P<0.01), with an overall recovery rate of 63.2±21.8%. Postoperative imaging demonstrated an improvement in the local kyphosis (P<0.01), and as of the final follow up no cases of spinal instability or instrument loosening had occurred. We conclude that PTTIF provides satisfactory neurological recovery and stabilises the thoracic fusion through a single posterior approach. However, this procedure is not complication free and demands advanced technical expertise on the part of practitioners, particularly to avoid catastrophic spinal cord injuries.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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