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Margaret Mead
Research Article

Incidence and Risk Factors for Late Neurologic Deterioration after C3–C6 Laminoplasty for Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy


Study Design Retrospective study. Objective We previously reported that the long-term neurologic outcomes of C3–C6 laminoplasty for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) are satisfactory, with reduced frequencies of postoperative axial neck pain and kyphotic deformity. However, only 20 patients were included, which is a limitation in that study. The present study investigated the incidence of late neurologic deterioration (LND) of myelopathic symptoms after C3–C6 laminoplasty for CSM and attempted to identify significant risk factors for LND in a larger patient population. Methods Subjects comprised 137 consecutive patients with CSM who underwent C3–C6 laminoplasty (bilateral open-door laminoplasty, n = 85; unilateral open-door laminoplasty, n = 52) and were followed for >24 months (mean follow-up, 70 months; range, 25 to 124 months). The patients' medical records were examined for evidence of LND due to cervical myelopathy. The age at time of surgery, sex, surgical procedures, anteroposterior spinal canal diameter at the C7 level, type of C6 spinous process, pre- and postoperative C2–C7 angle, C3–C6 range of motion (ROM), and disk height at the C6–C7 level were analyzed to identify risk factors for LND. Results Three patients (2.2%) developed LND of myelopathic symptoms due to caudal segment pathology adjacent to the C3–C6 laminoplasty (LND group). In these three patients, mean Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score improved from 10.2 before surgery to 12.2 at the time of maximum recovery, and declined to 9.7 just before additional surgery. On the other hand, in 134 patients without LND (non-LND group), the mean JOA score significantly improved from 10.2 before surgery to 13.4 at the time of maximum recovery and was maintained by the final follow-up (13.2). Compared with the non-LND group, the LND group showed significantly smaller anteroposterior spinal canal diameter at C7, more restricted postoperative C3–C6 ROM, and greater postoperative decrease in disk height at C6–C7, although a logistic regression analysis showed no significant differences. Conclusions In patients with CSM with more severe developmental spinal canal stenosis at C7, accelerated degeneration at the caudal segment resulting from restricted C3–C6 ROM after C3–C6 laminoplasty might lead to LND.