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Neurosurg Focus. 2011 Mar;30(3):E9. doi: 10.3171/2011.1.FOCUS10279.

Laminoplasty outcomes: is there a difference between patients with degenerative stenosis and those with ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament?

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  • 1Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California-San Francisco, CA, USA.



Two common causes of cervical myelopathy include degenerative stenosis and ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL). It has been postulated that patients with OPLL have more complications and worse outcomes than those with degenerative stenosis. The authors sought to compare the surgical results of laminoplasty in the treatment of cervical stenosis with myelopathy due to either degenerative changes or segmental OPLL.


The authors conducted a retrospective review of 40 instrumented laminoplasty cases performed at a single institution over a 4-year period to treat cervical myelopathy without kyphosis. Twelve of these patients had degenerative cervical stenotic myelopathy ([CSM]; degenerative group), and the remaining 28 had segmental OPLL (OPLL group). The 2 groups had statistically similar demographic characteristics and number of treated levels (mean 3.9 surgically treated levels; p > 0.05). The authors collected perioperative and follow-up data, including radiographic results.


The overall clinical follow-up rate was 88%, and the mean clinical follow-up duration was 16.4 months. The mean radiographic follow-up rate was 83%, and the mean length of radiographic follow-up was 9.3 months. There were no significant differences in the estimated blood loss (EBL) or length of hospital stay (LOS) between the groups (p > 0.05). The mean EBL and LOS for the degenerative group were 206 ml and 3.7 days, respectively. The mean EBL and LOS for the OPLL group were 155 ml and 4 days, respectively. There was a statistically significant improvement of more than one grade in the Nurick score for both groups following surgery (p < 0.05). The Nurick score improvement was not statistically different between the groups (p > 0.05). The visual analog scale (VAS) neck pain scores were similar between groups pre- and postoperatively (p > 0.05). The complication rates were not statistically different between groups either (p > 0.05). Radiographically, both groups lost extension range of motion (ROM) following laminoplasty, but this change was not statistically significant (p > 0.05).


Patients with CSM due to either degenerative disease or segmental OPLL have similar perioperative results and neurological outcomes with laminoplasty. The VAS neck pain scores did not improve significantly with laminoplasty for either group. Laminoplasty may limit extension ROM.

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