A new method to determine whether ossified posterior longitudinal ligament can be resected completely and safely: spinal canal “Rule of Nine” on axial computed tomography
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To introduce the new method of spinal canal “Rule of Nine” on axial computed tomography (CT) to determine whether ossified posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) can be resected completely and safely.
From January 2008 to January 2013, we retrospectively analyzed 308 patients with cervical OPLL who underwent anterior corpectomy. Patients were examined by cervical plain X-ray, CT, and magnetic resonance imaging. The characteristics of OPLL on axial CT, dural mater adhesion and ossification, complete resection of the ossified mass, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage, spinal cord injury (SCI), and postoperative outcome were all studied. OPLL was characterized at the maximum ossified level using spinal canal “Rule of Nine” on axial CT.
OPLL was completely and safely resected in 129 patients, whose ossified mass was within the safety zone. No CSF leakage or SCI occurred. The most ossified material was resected when OPLL was within the danger zone in 21 patients. There were two cases of SCI and seven of CSF leakage. In the other 158 patients, the ossified mass was within the intermediate zone. In 96 patients the width of the ossified mass was <2 resection units. It was completely resected and one case had CSF leakage. In the other 62 cases, the ossified mass was >2 resection units and there were nine cases of CSF leakage. CSF leakage and SCI increased significantly when the ossified mass was ≥6 units. The inter- and intraobserver κ values were 0.76 and 0.84, respectively, showing a good reliability.
Our new method can be used to determine whether OPLL can be resected completely and safely, and identify potential risks and complications.
KeywordsOssification of the posterior longitudinal ligament Rule of nine Computed tomography Dural ossification Postoperative complications
Conflict of interest
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