OBJECT: The progression of cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) can lead to increase in the size of the OPLL mass and aggravation of neurological symptoms. In the present study, the authors aimed to analyze the progression of cervical OPLL by using CT imaging, elucidate the morphology of OPLL masses, and evaluate the factors associated with the progression of cervical OPLL. METHODS: Sixty patients with cervical OPLL were included. All underwent an initial CT examination and had at least 24 months' follow-up with CT. The mean duration of follow-up was 29.6 months. Fourteen patients (Group A) had CT evidence of OPLL progression, and 46 (Group B) did not show evidence of progression on CT. The 2 groups were compared with respect to the following variables: sex, age, number of involved segments, type of OPLL, and treatment methods. The CT findings, such as the connection of an OPLL mass with the vertebral body and formation of trabeculation in the mass, were evaluated. RESULTS: Sex and treatment modality were not associated with OPLL progression. The mean age of the patients in Group A was significantly lower than that in Group B (p = 0.03). The mean number of involved segments was 5.3 in Group A and 3.6 in Group B (p = 0.002). Group A had a higher proportion of cases with the mixed type of OPLL, whereas Group B had a higher proportion of cases with the segmental type (p = 0.02). A connection between the vertebral body and OPLL mass and trabeculation formation were more common in Group B (p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Progression of cervical OPLL is associated with younger age, involvement of multiple levels, and mixed-type morphology. OPLL masses that are contiguous with the vertebral body and have trabecular formation are useful findings for identifying masses that are less likely to progress.
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