Retrospective case series on long-term follow-up results of original expansive open-door laminoplasty for cervical myelopathy due to cervical spondylosis (CSM) and ossification of posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL).

To elucidate efficacy and problems of original open-door laminoplasty to improve future surgical outcomes.

Little information is available on long-term outcomes of original open-door laminoplasty without grafts, implants, or instruments.

The study group included 80 patients who underwent original open-door laminoplasty and were followed for minimum 10 years. Clinical results, including Japanese Orthopedic Association scores, recovery rates, occurrences of complications, and long-term deterioration were investigated. Cervical alignments, type of OPLL, cervical range of motion, anteroposterior diameter of spinal canal, and progression of OPLL were assessed on plain radiographs. Spinal cord decompression was verified on magnetic resonance imaging.

Average Japanese Orthopedic Association score and recovery rate improved significantly until 3 years after surgery and remained at an acceptable level in both cervical spondylosis and OPLL patients with slight deterioration after 5 years. Segmental motor palsy developed in 8 patients. Late deterioration, mainly lower extremity motor score decline, developed in 8 CSM and 16 OPLL patients. Overall cervical range of motion decreased by 36%. Patients with cervical lordosis decreased gradually in both patient groups. Such changes in alignments did not affect surgical results in CSM patients, while OPLL patients with preoperative kyphosis had lower recovery rates than those with straight and lordotic alignments. OPLL progression that was detected in 66% of patients did not affect clinical results. Although infrequent, magnetic resonance imaging revealed atrophy of spinal cord, spinal cord compression at adjacent segments due to degenerative changes and OPLL progression.

Long-term results of open-door laminoplasty without bone graft, graft substitutes, or instruments were satisfactory. However, segmental motor paralysis, kyphosis, established before and after surgery, OPLL progression, and late deterioration due to age-related degeneration remain challenging problems.