Object. Spinal cord herniation is a rare cause of progressive myelopathy and can be corrected surgically. In most previous reports, closure of the dural defect was the recommended procedure. The object of this paper is to describe a new procedure in which spinal cord constriction is released by enlarging the hiatus; additionally the postoperative results will be discussed. Methods. In nine patients with spinal cord herniation, enlargement of the dural defect was performed. In eight patients, neurological deficits resolved immediately after surgery. In one patient with a severe preoperative neurological deficit whose spinal cord herniated massively, deterioration occurred postoperatively. To date, no recurrence of herniation has been observed. Conclusions. The goals of surgery are to reduce the herniation, return the spinal cord to the normal position, and prevent the recurrence of herniation. The use of sutures to close the dural defect has been the method of choice to date. The surgical space in front of the spinal cord, however, is insufficient to accommodate this procedure safely. Because symptoms are caused by the constriction of the spinal cord at the hiatus, surgical expansion of the hiatus allows the goals of surgery to be achieved. This procedure, which is technically easier and less invasive with regard to the vulnerable spinal cord than the closure of the dural defect, could be a viable alternative for the treatment of this rare disease.
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