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Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL)

2bbee22bbee Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
My neck x-rays show "dense calcification of the posterior longitudinal ligament at C2 and C3 and possibly at C6 and c7." In addition, "severe foraminal stenosis is seen at C3-4, C4-5, and C5-6 bilaterally. My primary care doctor sent me to a neck/spine orthopedic surgeon (I don't think my primary doctor is familiar with opll). I just had my MRI done today and I go back to the orthopedic specialist. From all the readings I have done online, opll was treated by neurosurgeons. Can anyone comment on this? Also, the orthopedic surgeon prescribed traction as part of my physical therapy. I am questioning this. My pain is moderate but the numbness on my right hand seems to be steadily progressing.


  • Hello 2bbee and Welcome to Spine-health!!

    I dont have any words of wisdom, sorry for that, but I just wanted to stop in and say HI!!

    Hope your day is wonderful!!
  • 2bbee,

    Welcome to Spine Health!! You are actually listing two different "happenings" with your Posterior longitudinal ligament. Not sure you can have ossification (growth, swelling of the ligament) and calcification (hardening) at the same time. But I guess you could have both?

    I had a little of that at my C5/6 (now fused..sort of) and since the disk was on the cord they had to go in to prevent paralysis. During my surgery (and he did this a little over a year later for my C6/7) he incised and removed that section of the posterior longitudinal ligament! Myself, I didn't know till after reading the surgical notes I even had it!

    Further research (I do a lot of research on things they say is wrong with me!) had it not been removed, and it continued to swell, Myelopathy may have also developed! Me, I would probably be more comfy with a Neurosurgeon as he is >< close to the cord when he takes that section out. Please let us know how it goes. Sorry you're going through this.

    Again, Welcome aboard!!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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  • Hi Brenda,

    Thank you for your response and sharing. My appointment for my otho/neck specialist is on December 13. Like you, I surf the net to understand more about my condition. Thank you for bringing up the difference between ossification and calcification. I will ask my doctor about this. I copied the x-ray report findings by the radiologist verbatim when I first posted. The MRI perhaps will give a more accurate prognosis. I am still trying to understand the scope of my condition.

    I have changed my insurance group effective next year (my primary care doctor has left her practice). I will be under the care of another doctor and sort of a blessing (second opinion). I am also inclined to go under the care of a neurologist.

    I'm sorry that you have been through a lot (your neck/spine surgeries, neuropathy...etc.). I wish you well. Again...thank you.


  • I did a little more digging. Do you have any Japanese decedents? I ask that as *most* who have OPLL have Asian backgrounds. Mine was only on two levels "1 each" with an unknown cause, and I know I don't have any Asian kin. My NS told me in an office visit he incises and removes the PLL when there is swelling. From what I got between that and my OR reports, I am guessing mine was due to the disk material, or spurs irritating and causing my PLL to swell at the individual levels?

    If I remember right, your's runs several levels. Just curious. Calcification also runs more Asian, but has been known to occur in other races. Interesting reading! :) I think the MRI will show better what is going on vs x-ray since it is soft tissue related.

    Thanks. My spine had a lot of abuse over my career, I guess it's paying me back now! (G) Please let us know how it goes. *HUGZ*

    [my edit] I just re-looked at your first post. You are getting it at one level (well more, but one level sections). It might be like I had, you have spurs or disk material causing it vs true "OPLL". Just my later thought there. :) That could be a good thing maybe?


    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Denise RaynorDDenise Raynor Posts: 1
    edited 10/22/2015 - 1:59 AM
    I was diagnosed with OPLL in 2011 and I habe recently found out I habe another ligament in my neck that has calcified which is systematic of eagle's syndrome (they both are rare but ill focus on OPLL). I am African American although the majority of my research says the majority of Asians and some Caucasians get this disease itnis also found in other races (surpise)..and doctors here do not have clue how to treat it except by pain meds...which I guess with this being a rare disease there is not much known about it or how to treat it. So controlling the pain and surgery are the only options they know of in the states. More is known in Asia. In y four years of going from Neurologist to Neurologist, to Acupuncturist, paind doctors etc I have found that doctors have specialtys. So you just cant go to any Neurologist younhave to make sure your Neurologist specializes in your condition, pain etc. I went to a Neurologist who put me on antidepressants to treat my chronic pain. He didnt have a pain management specialty but wanted me to go down the road of experimenting with him. NO! He was great at treat migraines and other neurological symptoms but nothing about OPLL or chronic pain. And yes a Neurosurgeon is best when considering surgery. Also kmow there is less evasive alternatives than what I had. Check into thise options especially for one and two level corrections YOU DONT WANT THEM CUTTING ON YOU IF YOU CAN AVOID IT!!!! Anyway in 2011 I had a five level posterior laminectomy to prevent paralysis (I believe another member was in the same circumstances) my neck was moving in places where it wasn't supposed to and where it was supposed to it wasn't. I now have ten screws and two rods in my neck and my ligaments are continuing to ossify and I am not getting any answers or any referrals so I am going to have to once again do my own research and request for a referral. I will say this. I believe in the beginning the biggest fear was being diagnosed with something doctors were unfamiliar with. It overwhelmed my life trying to find answers. T

    Fours years after surgery I am still in pain management with a doctor who has had two one level neck surgeries(older like 55ish and active,took him 6yrs to get active again but he took his time...the second time... and says my body is still healing...im 4yrs postop and have had five levels) so it helps being under someone who understands the neck sugery but not much about the OPLL. This kind of surgery takes our bodies through a alot and takes alot to heal. Yes we can get back to work, and move, but we have to remember we still need to heal which I think a lot of us forget. I know we want to get back do doing what we used to do how we used to do it and we can't. Its time for a new normal.
    And with our disease and neck issues there are going to be pains and the numbness that we should prepare for. Like water intake and diet (due to medication you may be on), stretching and strengthening exercises for the neck, walking and other exercises you can handle without over exerting yourself (some level of activity is helpful), rubs, ice, heat, massages, correct pillows, acupuncture making sure we dont sit too long in front of a computer or tv or position that requires the neck to be in an awkward position. Lower stress levels as much as possible. I have noticed all my stress goes straight to my neck. When texting bring the phone up to eye level. I found a heated scarf Walgreen sold last year really helps to keep the neck warm in the winter. Tumeric is good for inflammation sprinkle it in your food, put a little in your teas, ginger teas are also good for inflammation. Garlic is good for arthritis and inflammation. I habe also found that herbal oils are good for pain and inflammation.


    Before you try any supplement, herb, over the counter item, exercise program, mechanical aid, brace, etc always consult with your doctor to make sure you get their approval.
    Some of these products may be very effective, but no two individuals or medical conditions are alike. What works for one, may cause trouble for another..

    Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator

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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,248
    edited 10/22/2015 - 3:11 AM
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • DENISE RAYNOR...I read your post and i really appreciate you sharing your story.
    I am also a African American who was recently diagnosed with opll and also some calcification.I was told by my Dr.that this disease was congential and i also suffer from bulging discs and moderate to severe stenosis.I was diagnosed after being injured in a vehicle accident which i fractured my c6 vertabrae.I suffer from severe neck and shoulder pain'i also have pain that radiates down my arms and back.I m being treated by a workers compensation Doctor so with that being said the treatment i recieved is non existence'just muscle relaxers after nearly a year.Information on this condition is really hard to track down'the doctor said im non surgical because im not suffering from myelopathy yet but he never ruled it out for the future.My question is before the surgery did the opll cause problems with your neck'shoulders and range of motion.Did your Dr insist on you getting a surgery or was it your decision ? because i have some severe spinal cord flattening and compression and im afraid of what the future holds for me'if you could respond i would really appreciate it!!
  • alvinf478aalvinf478 Posts: 2
    edited 10/22/2015 - 3:00 PM
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,248
    edited 10/24/2015 - 3:28 AM
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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