Object: Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) is a complex multifactorial disease process combining both metabolic and biomechanical factors. The role for surgical intervention and choice of anterior or posterior approach is controversial. The object of this study was to review the literature and present a single-institution experience with surgical intervention for OPLL. Methods: The authors performed a retrospective review of their institutional experience with surgical intervention for cervical OPLL. They also reviewed the English-language literature regarding the epidemiology, pathophysiology, natural history, and surgical intervention for OPLL. Results: Review of the literature suggests an improved benefit for anterior decompression and stabilization or posterior decompression and stabilization compared with posterior decompression via laminectomy or laminoplasty. Both anterior and posterior approaches are safe and effective means of decompression of cervical stenosis in the setting of OPLL. Conclusions: Anterior cervical decompression and reconstruction is a safe and appropriate treatment for cervical spondylitic myelopathy in the setting of OPLL. For patients with maintained cervical lordosis, posterior cervical decompression and stabilization is advocated. The use of laminectomy or laminoplasty is indicated in patients with preserved cervical lordosis and less than 60% of the spinal canal occupied by calcified ligament in a "hill-shaped" contour.
- Cervical spondylitic myelopathy
- Cervical stenosis
- Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology