A novel anterior decompression technique for kyphosis line (K-line) ossification of posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL): vertebral body sliding osteotomy

Dong-Ho Lee, Sehan Park, Chul Gie Hong


Background: Conventional anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion (ACCF) for cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) is associated with a high incidence of surgery-related complications. A novel anterior decompression technique [vertebral body sliding osteotomy (VBSO)] has been developed to prevent such complications and achieve effective anterior decompression for severe OPLL patients. The purpose of this study was to describe the procedure of novel surgical technique and to evaluate the long-term surgical outcomes.
Methods: Between 2012 and 2014, 24 patients underwent VBSO for treatment of cervical myelopathy caused by severe OPLL. Operation time, estimated blood loss (EBL), neurologic outcomes and perioperative complications were investigated. Various radiographic parameters such as the preoperative canal occupying ratio, postoperative canal widening, and preoperative and postoperative cervical sagittal alignment were also measured. Minimum follow-up was 24 months.
Results: The mean Japanese Orthopaedic Association score for cervical myelopathy (C-JOA score) improved from 12.4±2.9 preoperatively to 16.0±1.4 at the final follow-up (P<0.05). The mean recovery rate of the C-JOA score at the final follow-up was 68.65%±17.80%. The mean operating time was 130.7±21.0 minutes and the EBL was 176.3±38.0 mL. There were no perioperative complications. Pseudarthrosis was detected in two cases at 12 months postoperatively. The average spinal canal compromised ratio by OPLL decreased from 64.0%±15.0% preoperatively to 15.5%±12.2% postoperatively (P<0.05), with an average postoperative canal widening of 5.15±1.39 mm.
Conclusions: Novel anterior decompression technique termed VBSO may be an effective and safe surgical option for anterior decompression surgery in patients with severe cervical OPLL. Since, VBSO does not involve a direct manipulation of the OPLL mass or dissection of the interspace between the OPLL and dura mater, this may significantly decrease the incidence of surgery-related complications, operation time, and intraoperative blood loss.