Postoperative Changes at the Lower End of Cervical Laminoplasty: For Preservation of the C7 Spinous Process in Laminoplasty

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C3-C7 laminoplasty has been the standard treatment for cervical myelopathy, although several recent reports described C3-C6 laminoplasty for preserving the muscles inserting in C7 and reducing postoperative axial symptoms. However, postoperative changes at C6/C7 of the lower end of C3-C6 laminoplasty, especially regarding a possibility of postoperative spinal canal narrowing have not been measured. The purpose of this study was to clarify postoperative changes at the lower end of laminoplasty.


Pre and postoperative spinal dura diameter at the lower end of conventional C3-C7 laminoplasty using MRI, and the related factors for spinal dura diameter and the causes of postoperative dura narrowing were investigated.


At the last follow-up after C3-C7 laminoplasty, dura diameter at C7/T1 was significantly wider after operation than before operation, and postoperative narrowing of dura diameter, which was found in 20% of patients, was a maximum amount of one millimeter. No pre and postoperative factor significantly correlated with dura diameter at C7/T1. The causes of postoperative narrowing at the lower end of laminoplasty were disc protrusion and/or posterior scar, or segmental angulation of the spinal cord.


In conclusion, the presence of preoperative subarachnoid space over one millimeter at C6/C7 may be able to be one of the radiological indications for C3-C6 laminoplasty.

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