European Spine Journal

, Volume 26, Supplement 1, pp 170–177 | Cite as

Extraordinary positional cervical spinal cord compression in extension position as a rare cause of postoperative progressive myelopathy after cervical posterior laminoplasty detected using the extension/flexion positional CT myelography: one case after laminectomy following failure of a single-door laminoplasty/one case after double-door laminoplasty without interlaminar spacers

  • Yasushi Fujiwara
  • Hideki Manabe
  • Takahiro Harada
  • Bunichiro Izumi
  • Nobuo Adachi
Case Report



Posterior cervical laminectomies and laminoplasties are common treatments for cervical spondylotic myelopathy. However, recent studies demonstrated that positional spinal cord compression occurred after cervical laminectomies and caused postoperative progressive myelopathy. Although there were no such reports after laminoplasties, we report two cases in which symptomatic extraordinary positional spinal cord compression occurred after laminoplasties in this paper.


This study included two patients who showed progressive myelopathy: one case after a laminectomy following failure of a single-door laminoplasty and one case after a double-door laminoplasty without interlaminar spacers.


The MRIs showed mild cord compression in the neutral position in both cases. However, the patients could not extend their necks, because it triggered severe neck pain and numbness. Therefore, the positional CT myelography (CTM) was taken in the flexion and extension positions, and it showed severe spinal cord compression only in the extension position. Posterior instrumented fusions were performed for both patients, which improved their symptoms.


This paper demonstrates that postoperative positional spinal cord compression during neck extension caused a progressive myelopathy even after laminoplasty. When myelopathy symptoms worsen after laminoplasties, we recommend positional CTM/MRI evaluation, even though there is no apparent cord compression in the neutral MRI.


Positional spinal cord compression Progressive myelopathy Laminectomy Laminoplasty Positional CT myelography 



We appreciate Mr. Vincent John Hykel for his devoted support, and Dr. Benny Lay for his good advices.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None of the authors has any potential conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryHiroshima City Asa Citizens HospitalHiroshimaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryGraduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Hiroshima UniversityHiroshimaJapan

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