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Postoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging Assessment for Potential Compressive Effects of Retained Posterior Longitudinal Ligament After Anterior Cervical Fusions: a Cross-Sectional Study

Scientific Paper

Chin KR1, Ghiselli GCumming VFurey CGYoo JUEmery SE.

Interested medical professionals can read the full paper, as published in Spine, here.


A cross-sectional study.


To assess using postoperative magnetic resonance imaging whether the posterior longitudinal ligament (PLL) caused residual cord compression after anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) in a series of patients in whom the PLL was retained.


There is a lack of data evaluating the postoperative compressive effects of the PLL in patients undergoing ACDF providing guidance as to whether to remove or retain the PLL during discectomy to facilitate adequate decompression.


Postoperative gadolinium enhanced magnetic resonance images were reviewed in a series of 33 patients who underwent ACDF for cervical radiculomyelopathy and who had persistent or recurrent postoperative symptoms. Patients with ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament or with a herniated disc behind the PLL were excluded from this study.


There were no cases of discernible compression by the retained PLL identified on the magnetic resonance image (P < 0.001) as assessed by 2 independent reviewers. Four patients underwent subsequent revision surgery unrelated to the PLL.


We were unable to demonstrate magnetic resonance imaging evidence to suggest that the retained PLL caused compression after ACDF in this patient cohort. Therefore we suggest that removing the PLL should be considered for reasons other than concern about residual compression.


Dr. Kingsley R. Chin, Founder of philosophy and practice of The LES Society and The LESS Institute

Dr. Kingsley R. Chin is a board-certified Harvard-trained Orthopedic Spine Surgeon and Professor with copious business and information technology exposure. He sees a niche opportunity where medicine, business and info. tech meet – and is uniquely educated at the intersection of these three professions. He has experience as Professor of Clinical Biomedical Sciences & Admissions Committee Member at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, Professor of Clinical Orthopedic Surgery at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Visiting Spine Surgeon & Professor at the University of the West Indies, Mona, and Adjunct Professor of Clinical Biomedical Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

Learn more about Dr. Chin here and connect via LinkedIn.


Less Exposure Surgery (LES) is based on a new philosophy of performing surgery, leading the charge to prove through bench and clinical outcomes research that LES treatment options are the best solutions – to lowering the cost of healthcare, improving outcomes and increasing patient satisfaction. Learn more at LESSociety.org.

The LES Society philosophy: “Tailor treatment to the individual aiding in the quickest recovery and return to a pain-free lifestyle, using LES® techniques that lessen exposure, preserve unoffending anatomy and utilize new technologies which are safe, easy to adopt and reproducible. These LES®techniques lessen blood loss, surgical time and exposure to radiation and can be safely performed in an outpatient center. Less is more.” – Kingsley R. Chin, MD


The LESS Institute is the world leader center of excellence in Less Exposure Surgery. Our safe, effective outpatient treatments help patients recover quickly, avoid expensive hospital stays and return home to their family the same day. Watch our patient stories, follow us on Facebook and visit TheLESSInstitute.com to learn more.


The above study utilized LES Technology from SpineFrontier – leading provider of LES Technologies and instruments – offering surgeons and patients superior technology and services.



Chin KR1, Ghiselli GCumming VFurey CGYoo JUEmery SE.

Author information

  1. Institute for Modern & Innovative Surgery (iMIS), Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311, USA. [email protected]

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