Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) of the cervical spine is a frequent pathological entity in people of Japanese and Asian extraction and is reported with increasing frequency also in the USA; on the contrary, reports in the European and particularly in the Italian literature remain rare. This paper describes 8 Italian patients with cervical spine stenosis due to OPLL extending three to five vertebral segments (and above C3 in four cases). Magnetic resonance imaging shows the extent of the ossification well in terms of height and cord compression, while computed tomography is useful to measure the thickness of the bone mass and the residual spinal canal. Anterior cervical decompression by discectomy, corpectomy, and removal of the ossified ligament is the treatment of choice and results in clinical improvement in most cases. Decompressive laminectomy may be reserved for patients with ossification extending to four or five levels and above C3. The surgical technique and intraoperative findings are discussed.
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