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Regression of Disc-Osteophyte Complexes Following Laminoplasty Versus Laminectomy with Fusion for Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy

Remi M. Ajiboye, MD,1 Stephen D. Zoller, MD,1 Adedayo A. Ashana, MD,1 Akshay Sharma, BA,2 William Sheppard, BS,1 Langston T. Holly, MD1,3

1Department of Orthopaedics, David Geffen UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, USA. 2Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, Cleveland, USA. 3Department of Neurosurgery, David Geffen UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, USA. 

Abstract

Background

Laminectomy with fusion (LF) and laminoplasty are two posterior-based surgical approaches for the surgical treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). The decompressive effect of these approaches is thought to be primarily related to the dorsal drift of the spinal cord away from ventral compressive structures. A lesser known mechanism of spinal cord decompression following cervical LF is regression of the ventral disc osteophyte complexes which is postulated to result from the alteration of motion across the fused motion segment. The goal of this study was to determine whether regression of the ventral disc-osteophyte complexes occur following laminoplasty and compare the magnitude of this occurrence to cervical laminectomy and fusion.

Methods

Seventy patients with CSM who underwent pre- and postoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and were treated with either laminoplasty or LF. The size of the disc-osteophyte complex at all operative levels were measured on pre- and postoperative MRI using digital calipers.

Results

 The laminoplasty group consisted of 25 patients with an average age of 54.9 and a mean of 3.24 surgical levels while the LF group consisted of 45 patients with an average age of 65.4 and a mean of 3.44 surgical levels (age, p < 0.0001; levels, p= 0.46). The average time interval between pre- and post-operative MRI was 16.2 and 15.6 months in the laminoplasty and LF groups, respectively (p = 0.91). The average time interval between surgery and post-operative MRI was 10.1 and 10.7 months in the laminoplasty and LF groups, respectively (p = 0.86). When comparing pre- and post-operative MRI, there was a 9.59% decrease in disc-osteophyte complex size from 3.84mm ± 0.74 to 3.47mm ± 0.86 in the laminoplasty group compared to a 35.4% decrease in disc-osteophyte complex size from 4.60mm ± 1.06 to 2.98mm ± 1.33 in LF group (laminoplasty, p < 0.0001; LF, p = 0.0067). Using logistic regression analysis, LF, increased time interval between surgery and post-operative MRI, high cobb angle, and straight sagittal alignment were all independently associated with increased disc-osteophyte complex regression (p < 0.05). No differences in functional outcomes (as defined by mJOA scores) was found between the two surgical techniques.

Conclusions

In patients with CSM that had a posterior surgical approach, LF is associated with a larger interval regression in disc-osteophyte complex size compared to laminoplasty. This is likely related to the loss of motion of the cervical spine after surgery as governed by Wolff’s law and the Heuter-Volkmann’s principle. Although the decompressive effect of LF and laminoplasty is primarily related to the dorsal drift of the spinal cord away from ventral compressive structures, disc-osteophyte complex regression likely provides another mechanism of spinal cord decompression.

Page Start: 
129
keywords: 
Cervical spondylotic myelopathy, laminoplasty, Laminectomy Fusion, Disc Osteophyte Complex
Volume 11 Issue 3
Page End: 
137
doi: 
10.14444/4017