Spine

‘Floating’ plaque technique can provide additional spinal cord decompression

By Robert Linnehan

Surgical techniques to treat thoracic ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament vary in their outcomes, but evidence from a recently published study showed a posterolateral approach-based floating plaque technique was safe and offered positive surgical outcomes in a small case series.

Researchers examined the outcomes of 12 patients with thoracic myelopathy due to ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPPL) who were surgically treated at the researchers’ institution between 2011 and 2013. The cohort included in the study were six patients with beak-type OPLL who underwent anterior decompression and instrumented fusion via a posterolateral approach-based surgical technique. Three of the patients were treated with the removal of the ossified ligament, and the remaining three patients were treated by “floating” the OPLL plaques.

Investigators found recovery rates of 52.4% and 60% for the removal and floating groups, respectively.

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