Longitudinal diffusion tensor imaging of patients with degenerative cervical myelopathy following decompression surgery

Mitsuhiro Kitamura, Satoshi Maki, Masao Koda, Takeo Furuya, Yasushi Iijima, Junya Saito, Takuya Miyamoto, Yasuhiro Shiga, Kazuhide Inage, Sumihisa Orita, Hiroshi Takahashi, Koji Matsumoto, Yoshitada Masuda, Masashi Yamazaki, Seiji Ohtori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies have reported the utility of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) as an imaging biomarker for the severity of myelopathy and subsequent surgical outcome in patients with degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM). We hypothesized that DTI may reflect neurological recovery following surgery. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of DTI to assess the post-operative alteration of neural status in patients with DCM as well as to predict post-operative recovery. We enrolled 15 patients with DCM who underwent decompression surgery. The Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score was evaluated before and 1 year after surgery. The participants were examined using DTI on a 3.0 T magnetic resonance scanner before, and 1 year after surgery. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) were assessed for both time points. The correlations between the pre- and post-operative FA and MD values and the pre- and post-operative JOA scores were analyzed. Although the JOA score improved significantly after surgery from 8.9 to 12.3, there was no significant change between the pre- and post-operative FA and MD values. The post-operative outcomes after 1 year moderately correlated with the pre-operative FA values (Spearman's ρ = 0.55, p = 0.03 and Spearman's ρ = 0.56, p = 0.03 for change and recovery rate of the JOA score, respectively). However, there was no correlation between the post-operative FA and post-operative JOA scores nor between MD and clinical outcomes. DTI cannot be utilized as a biomarker for post-operative alterations of neural status of the spinal cord; however, pre-operative DTI may be useful as a predictor of surgical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-198
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical spondylotic myelopathy
  • Degenerative cervical myelopathy
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Laminoplasty
  • Longitudinal study
  • Ossification of longitudinal ligament
  • Spinal cord
  • Surgical prognosis


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