Purpose: To explore the value of diffusion-tensor (DT) imaging in addressing the severity of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) and predicting the outcome of surgical treatment. Materials and Methods: From July 2009 to May 2012, 65 volunteers were recruited for this institutional review board-approved study, and all gave informed consent; 20 volunteers were healthy subjects (age range, 41-62 years), and 45 were patients with CSM (age range, 43-86 years). Anatomic and DT 3.0-T magnetic resonance images were obtained. Surgical decompression was performed in 22 patients with CSM, and patients were followed up for 6 months to 2 years. The clinical severity of myelopathy and postoperative recovery were assessed by using the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) score. A recovery ratio (comparison of postoperative with preoperative mJOA score) of more than 50% indicated a good clinical outcome of surgery. DT findings, patient age, T2 high signal intensity (HSI), and somatosensory evoked potential (SEP) were analyzed by using a logistic regression model to predict the surgical outcome of patients with CSM. Results: A significant difference in cervical cord mean fractional anisotropy (FA) was found between healthy subjects and patients with CSM (0.65 ± 0.05 [standard deviation] vs 0.52 ± 0.13, P < .001). FA values were significantly correlated with the severity of neurologic dysfunction indicated by mJOA score (r2 = 0.327, P = .016). Logistic regression analysis showed that mean FA (P = .030) and FA at the C2 vertebra (P = .035) enabled prediction of good surgical outcome; however, preoperative mJOA (P = .927), T2 HSI (P = .176), SEP amplitude (P = .154), and latency (P = .260) did not. Conclusion: FA is a biomarker for the severity of myelopathy and for subsequent surgical outcome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging