Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament

Case contributed by Dr J. Ray Ballinger

Presentation

57 year old woman of Japanese descent with pain in the right arm and numbness in the left hand.

Patient Data

Age: 57 years
Gender: Female

The lateral plain film shows ossification along the posterior C5 and C6 vertebral bodies.

 CT scan images show ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament from C4 through C7.

MRI shows thickening and ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament from about C4 through T3. Spinal stenosis is noted with mild cord compression at C6-7.

Case Discussion

Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) is a relatively common cause of spinal stenosis in Japanese patients, most frequently involving the cervical spine. Males are more frequently involved than females and the 5th decade of life is a common time for symptoms to develop. As can be seen in this case MRI and CT are very sensitive and specific studies for this disease with findings sometimes being subtle on plain films.

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Case Information

rID: 25024
Case created: 28th Sep 2013
Last edited: 4th May 2017
Tag: spine
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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