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Alternating cervical laminoplasty for cervical spondylotic myelopathy

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We present a novel method of performing an ‘open-door’ cervical laminoplasty. The complete laminotomy is sited on alternate sides at successive levels, thereby allowing the posterior arch to be elevated to alternate sides. Foraminotomies can be carried out on either side to relieve root compression. The midline structures are preserved.

We undertook this procedure in 23 elderly patients with a spondylotic myelopathy. Each was assessed clinically and radiologically before and after their operation.

Follow-up was for a minimum of three years (mean 4.5 years; 3 to 7). Using the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association scoring system, the mean pre-operative score was 8.1 (6 to 10), which improved post-operatively to a mean of 12.7 (11 to 14). The mean percentage improvement was 61% (50% to 85.7%) after three years. The canal/vertebral body ratio improved from a mean of 0.65 (0.33 to 0.73) pre-operatively to 0.94 (0.5 to 1.07) postoperatively.

Alternating cervical laminoplasty can be performed safely in elderly patients with minimal morbidity and good results.

Correspondence should be sent to Dr S. M. Iencean; e-mail: mirceasteffan@yahoo.com

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