Spinal Deformity and Instability After Multilevel Cervical Laminectomy

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Sixty-four patients who had undergone multilevel cervical laminectomy were studied for postoperative spinal deformity and instability. Special attention was given to patients with cervical spondylosis (CS), ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL), and spinal cord tumors. Twenty-three (36%) of 64 patients showed postoperative changes in curvature type and 9 (14%) had developed spinal deformity (kyphotic or meandering-type curvature). In two juvenile patients, the deformity developed soon after operation and spinal fusion was required to prevent neurologic complications. In the adult cases, contrary to the hitherto accepted concept, long-term follow-up revealed the tendency of the deformity to develop more frequently in OPLL cases than in CS cases. Mobility of the cervical spine was reduced considerably after laminectomy, both in CS and OPLL cases. There was no adult patient who required further operation for severe deformity or instability after laminectomy. Extensive laminectomy, even including the C2 lamina, seemed to have no adverse effect on the stability of the cervical spine.

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