Eight years of follow-up after laminectomy of calcium pyrophosphate crystal deposition in the cervical yellow ligament of patient with Coffin-Lowry syndrome: A case report

Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Aug;95(31):e4468. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000004468.


Background: We report 8 years of follow-up after decompression to treat cervical myelopathy in a patient with Coffin-Lowry syndrome (CLS). CLS is a rare X-linked semidominant syndrome associated with growth and psychomotor retardation, general hypotonia, and skeletal abnormalities. In this patient, the spinal cord was compressed by calcium pyrophosphate crystal deposition in the cervical yellow ligament (YL). To date, only 1 report has described clinical features after surgery for calcified cervical YL in CLS.

Methods: A 15-year-old male with tetraplegia secondary to compression of the cervical spinal cord induced by a hypoplastic posterior arch of C1 and calcification of the YL from C2 to C7 was treated surgically with laminectomy from C1 to C7. The patient's history, clinical examination, imaging findings, and treatment are reported. The patient was incapable of speech because of mental retardation, so he could not describe his symptoms. Gait disturbance worsened over the 2 months before admission to our hospital. At admission, the patient could not move his extremities, and tendon reflexes of the upper and lower extremities were significantly increased. Computed tomography of the cervical spine showed YL calcification from C2 to C7. Magnetic resonance imaging showed consecutive compression of the cervical spinal cord. We diagnosed quadriplegia secondary to cervical cord damage and performed emergency surgery.

Results: During C1-C7 laminectomy, YL calcification in C2-C7 was observed. The calcification was confirmed as calcium pyrophosphate by crystal analysis. Quadriplegia gradually resolved, and almost disappeared by 2 weeks after the operation. Cervical hyperlordosis was observed in radiographs starting from 1 month after the operation, but it has not progressed and is not associated with any symptoms.

Conclusions: The efficacy of decompression continued, and no postoperative complications have occurred during at least 8 years of follow-up.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Calcium Pyrophosphate / chemistry
  • Cervical Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Coffin-Lowry Syndrome / complications*
  • Decompression, Surgical
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Laminectomy*
  • Ligamentum Flavum / pathology
  • Ligamentum Flavum / surgery*
  • Male
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / complications
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / surgery*
  • Quadriplegia / etiology
  • Quadriplegia / surgery
  • Spinal Cord Compression / etiology
  • Spinal Cord Compression / surgery
  • Young Adult


  • Calcium Pyrophosphate