The effectiveness and problems associated with the operation of anterior decompression and fusion using the manubrium splitting approach for thoracic myelopathy due to ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) of the upper thoracic spine carried out in nine patients was investigated. They were followed up for 1 year or more following the operation. The severity of the thoracic myelopathy was evaluated using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association score, and the surgical outcome was evaluated using recovery rates. This study includes investigation of the surgical outcome and of any postoperative complications, and radiographic observation of bony union and the progression of OPLL within the area of the anterior decompression. The caudal limit of the anterior decompression achieved by splitting the manubrium was the T3 vertebral body. A recovery rate of 71% was achieved during an average follow-up period of 35 months. Only one transient recurrent nerve palsy, and in another patient cerebrospinal fluid leakage occurred as postoperative complications. Radiographic examinations confirmed bony union in all of the patients, and there was no instance of spinal canal stenosis caused by progression of the OPLL within the area of the anterior decompression. Anterior decompression and fusion by splitting the manubrium was an effective surgical procedure for OPLL of the upper thoracic spine, to achieve a good outcome, however, the extent of anterior decompression was limited.
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