Introduction: The purpose of this study was to elucidate the duration for which the dural tube continues to expand after muscle-preserving cervical laminectomy and the extent to which the expansion affects surgical outcomes. Methods: We analyzed 83 patients with cervical myelopathy who underwent muscle-preserving selective laminectomy of three consecutive laminae between C4 and C6. On the lateral radiographs, parameters considered were C2-7 Cobb angles, range of flexion-extension neck motions, and C2-7 sagittal vertical axis. Neck alignment was classified into four types with lateral radiographs. Anteroposterior (AP) diameter of the dural tube was measured at mid-level of the C5 vertebral body on T2 sagittal image. Expansion ratio (ER) was defined as the extent of expansion at a particular time divided by the final extent of expansion of the dural tube diameter. Operative outcomes were examined using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores. Results: The mean age was 62.3 years, and the mean follow-up period was 2 years and 9 months. AP diameter of the dural tube had been expanding until 1-year after surgery. ER in cases with kyphosis was lower at 6 months than that in cases without kyphosis, indicating that the speed of dural expansion was slower in cases with kyphosis. There was no correlation between the extent of expansion of the dural tube and neurological recovery. Conclusions: The dural tube continued to expand for approximately 1-year after surgery. The dural tube of patients with kyphosis slowly expanded possibly because of the hardness of the dura mater. A small extent of dural expansion does not necessarily indicate bad surgical outcomes.
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