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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament of the spine

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* Not a rare disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • OPLL
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Overview

Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament of the spine (OPLL) is a condition that is characterized by the calcification of the soft tissues that connect the bones of the spine, which may lead to compression of the spinal cord. Many affected people do not have any signs or symptoms, while others may experience mild pain or numbness in the arms and/or legs. In some cases, OPLL may be associated with other conditions such as genetic diseases (i.e. hypophosphatemic rickets), endocrine disorders (i.e. acromegaly, hypoparathyroidism), spondyloarthropathies (i.e. ankylosing spondylitis), and diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis. OPLL is most commonly diagnosed in men, people of Asian descent and people over age 50. The exact underlying cause is currently unknown; however, scientists suspect that it is a multifactorial condition that is influenced by several different genetic and environmental factors. The treatment of OPLL depends the severity of the condition and the signs and symptoms present in each person. If more conservative treatments such as NSAIDs are not effective, surgery may be necessary.[1][2][3]
Last updated: 5/4/2015

References

  1. Andrew Eisen, MD, FRCPC. Disorders affecting the spinal cord. UpToDate. October 2014; Accessed 5/4/2015.
  2. Simon M Helfgott, MD. Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH). UpToDate. December 2013; Accessed 5/4/2015.
  3. Ikegawa S. Genetics of ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament of the spine: a mini review. J Bone Metab. May 2014; 21(2):127-132.
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Basic Information

  • Emory Healthcare offers an information page on Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament of the spine for patients and caregivers. Please click on the link to access this resource.

In Depth Information

  • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament of the spine. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Other Names for this Disease
  • OPLL
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.