Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) is a progressive disease. The bridging of ossified lesions to the vertebral body gradually increases, thereby decreasing the mobility of the cervical spine; thus, cervical spine function may decrease over time. However, cervical spine function in patients with cervical OPLL has not been evaluated in large prospective studies. Therefore, we conducted a prospective multicenter study to clarify whether ossification spread can influence cervical spine function and quality of life (QOL) in patients with cervical OPLL. In total, 238 patients (162 men, 76 women; mean age, 63.9 years) were enrolled from 16 institutions. Each patient underwent whole spine computed tomography and was evaluated for cervical spine function and QOL using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association Cervical Myelopathy Evaluation Questionnaire (JOACMEQ). In the multivariate regression analysis, a higher neck VAS score and a larger number of bridge formations of OPLL in the whole spine were significant predictors of adverse outcomes related to cervical spine function. This is the first prospective multicenter study to reveal the impact of ossification spread on cervical spine function. These findings are important to understand the natural course of OPLL and can serve as controls when evaluating postoperative cervical spine function.
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