Insertion of percutaneous iliosacral screws with fluoroscopic guidance is associated with a relatively high screw malposition rate and long radiation exposure. We asked whether radiation exposure was reduced and screw position improved in patients having percutaneous iliosacral screw insertion using computer-assisted navigation compared with patients having conventional fluoroscopic screw placement. We inserted 26 screws in 24 patients using the navigation system and 35 screws in 32 patients using the conventional fluoroscopic technique. Two subgroups were analyzed, one in which only one iliosacral screw was placed and another with additional use of an external fixator. We determined screw positions by computed tomography and compared operation time, radiation exposure, and screw position. We observed no difference in operative times. Radiation exposure was reduced for the patients and operating room personnel with computer assistance. The postoperative computed tomography scan showed better screw position and fewer malpositioned screws in the three-dimensional navigated groups. Computer navigation reduced malposition rate and radiation exposure.
Level of Evidence: Level II, therapeutic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
The pedicle screw instrumentation represents the most rigid construct of the cervical and cervicothoracic spine and in spite of the risks to neurovascular structures clinical relevant complications do not occur frequently. The steep angles of the cervical pedicles result in a wide surgical exposure with extensive muscular trauma. The objective of this study was the evaluation of the accuracy of cervical pedicle screw insertion through a minimally invasive technique to reduce access-related muscular trauma. Therefore, percutaneous transpedicular instrumentation of the cervical and cervicothoracic spine was performed in 15 patients using fluoroscopy. All instrumentations from C2 to Th4 were inserted bilaterally through 2 to 3-cm skin and fascia incisions even in multilevel procedures and the rods were placed by blunt insertion through the incision. Thin-cut CT scan was used postoperatively to analyze pedicle violations. 76.4% of 72 screws were placed accurately. Most pedicle perforations were seen laterally towards the vertebral artery. Critical breaches >2 mm or narrowing of the transversal foramen occurred in 12.5% of screws; however, no revision surgery for screw displacement was needed in the absence of clinical symptoms. No conversion from percutaneous to open surgery was necessary. It was concluded that percutaneous transpedicular instrumentation of the cervical spine is a surgically demanding technique and should be reserved for experienced spine surgeons. The indications are limited to instrumentation-only procedures or in combination with anterior treatment, but with the potential to minimize access-related morbidity.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00586-011-1775-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
CPS; Percutaneous; Cervical; Instrumentation; Fluoroscopy; Minimally invasive
Despite potential advantages of three-dimensional fluoroscopy-based navigation, there still remain a lot of controversies about the indications of this technology, especially whether it is worthy of being used in placement of pedicle screws in lumbar spine. However, according to the inconsistent conclusions reported in the literature and our experiences, the traditional method relying on anatomical landmarks and fluoroscopic views to guide lumbar pedicle screw insertion is unable to meet the requirement of precise screw placement. Based on our observation, screw malposition seems to occur concomitant with vertebral axial rotation which is a ubiquitous phenomenon. Three-dimensional fluoroscopy-based navigation can provide the most valuable axial images in real-time, so it may be useful for placement of pedicle screws in lumbar spine. This study was intended to evaluate the effect of axial rotation of lumbar vertebrae on the accuracy of pedicle screw placement using the traditional method, as well as assess the value of three-dimensional fluoroscopy-based navigation in improving the accuracy. Sixteen lumbar simulation models at different degrees of axial rotation (0°, 5°, 10°, and 20°), with every four assigned the same degree, were equally divided into two groups (traditional method group and three-dimensional fluoroscopy-based navigation group). Random placement of pedicle screws was carried out, followed by CT scan postoperatively. Then the outer pedicle cortex contours were depicted from reconstructed sectional pedicle images using Photoshop. The accuracy of pedicle screw placement was evaluated by determining the interrelationship between screw trajectory and pedicle cortex (quality), and measuring the shortest distance from pedicle screw axis to outer cortex of the pedicle (quantity). Eighty pedicle screws were implanted, respectively, in each group. In traditional method group, statistical difference existed in the accuracy of pedicle screw placement at different axial rotational degrees (P < 0.05). With degrees increasing, the accuracy declined. The accuracy of three-dimensional fluoroscopy-based navigation group was higher than traditional method group in vertebrae with axial rotation (P < 0.01). In qualitative evaluation, the accuracy of the two methods had statistical difference when the degree was 20°, and in quantitative evaluation, statistical difference existed in 5°, 10°, and 20° of vertebral axial rotation.
Lumbar spine; Pedicle screw; Vertebral rotation; Three-dimensional fluoroscopy-based navigation; Accuracy
Improved pedicle screw insertion accuracy has been reported with the assistance of computer tomography-based navigation. Studies also indicated that fluoroscopy-based navigation offers high accuracy and is comparable to CT-based assistance. However, different population characteristics and assessment methods resulted in inconsistent conclusions. We searched OVID, Springer, and MEDLINE databases to conduct a meta-analysis of the published literature specifically looking at accuracy of pedicle screw placement with different navigation methods. Subgroups and descriptive statistics were determined based on the subject type (in vivo or cadaveric), navigational method, and spinal level. A total number of 7,533 pedicle screws were summarised in our database with 6,721 screws accurately inserted into the pedicles (89.22%). Overall, the median placement accuracy for the in vivo CT-based navigation subgroup (90.76%) was higher than that with the use of two-dimensional (2D) fluoroscopy-based navigation (85.48%). We concluded that CT-based navigation could provide a higher accuracy in the placement of pedicle screws for all subgroups presented. In the lumbar level, 2D fluoroscopy-based navigation was comparable with CT-based navigation. Discrepancy between the two navigation types increased in the thoracic level for the in vivo populations, where there was less potential in the use of 2D fluoroscopy-based navigation than CT-based navigation.
Successful placement of cervical pedicle screws requires accurate identification of both entry point and trajectory. However, literature has not provided consistent recommendations regarding the direction of pedicle screw insertion and entry point location. The objective of this study was to define a guideline regarding the optimal entry point and trajectory in placing subaxial cervical pedicle screws and to evaluate the screw accuracy in cadaver cervical spines. The guideline for entry point and trajectory for each vertebra was established based on the recently published morphometric data. Six fresh frozen cervical spines (C3–C7) were used. There were two men and four women. After posterior exposure, the entry point was determined and the cortical bone of the entry point was removed using a 2-mm burr. Pilot holes were created with a cervical probe based on the guideline using fluoroscopy. After tapping, 3.5-mm screws with appropriate length were inserted. After screw insertion, every vertebra was dissected and inspected for pedicle breach. The pedicle width, height, pedicle transverse angulation and actual screw insertion angle were measured. A total of 60 pedicle screws were inserted. No statistical difference in pedicle width and height was found between the left and right sides for each level. The overall accuracy of pedicle screws was 83.3%. The remaining 13.3% screws had noncritical breach, and 3.3% had critical breach. The critical breach was not caused by the guideline. There was no statistical difference between the pedicle transverse angulation and the actual screw trajectory created using the guideline. There was statistical difference in pedicle width between the breach and non-breach screws. In conclusion, high success rate of subaxial cervical pedicle screw placement can be achieved using the recently proposed operative guideline and oblique views of fluoroscopy. However, careful preoperative planning and good surgical skills are still required to ensure screw placement accuracy and to reduce the risk of neural and vascular injury.
Cervical spine; Pedicle screw; Entry point; Trajectory
Thoracic pedicle screw fixation techniques are still controversial for thoracic deformities because of possible complications including neurologic deficit. Methods to aid the surgeon in appropriate screw placement have included the use of intraoperative fluoroscopy and/or radiography as well as image-guided techniques. We describe our technique for free hand pedicle screw placement in the thoracic spine without any radiographic guidance and present the results of pedicle screw placement analyzed by computed tomographic scan in two human cadavers. This free hand technique of thoracic pedicle screw placement performed in a step-wise, consistent, and compulsive manner is an accurate, reliable, and safe method of insertion to treat a variety of spinal disorders, including spinal deformity.
Pedicle screw placement; Thoracic spine; Surgical anatomy; Free hand technique; Surgical technique; Cadaveric study
Image guidance provides additional anatomic information to the surgeon, which may allow more accurate insertion of spinal implants. Imprecise placement of anterior thoracic screws places the spinal cord and paraspinal structures at risk for injury. Image guidance may afford a safety benefit to patients when anterior thoracic screws are required in the setting of spinal stabilization after trauma.
To compare the accuracy of anterior thoracic screw placement using standard fluoroscopy, computer-assisted fluoroscopic image guidance, Iso-C3D image guidance, and electromagnetic fluoroscopic image guidance.
A surgical simulation study in human cadaver spine specimens.
After an open thoracotomy approach, anterior thoracic screws were placed by experienced spine surgeons using 4 different image-guided techniques in 4 human cadaver thoracic spines. Screws were placed in the 9th, 10th, and 11th thoracic vertebrae of each specimen. The specimens were then examined with thin-cut computed tomography (CT) scans, and with sagittal and coronal reconstructions. Measurements included the distance of the screw from the spinal canal, the angle of the screw path in relation to a perpendicular to a line that bisects the spinous process, and the angle of screw divergence from the superior endplate.
There was no evidence of spinal canal penetrance with any of the image-guided techniques used to place anterior thoracic vertebral body screws. Screws inserted with standard fluoroscopy tended to aim anterolaterally by 18°. The image-guidance systems allowed more accurate placement of anterior thoracic screws in the transverse plane compared with standard fluoroscopy. There was no statistically significant difference in coronal plane screw angulation (angle of divergence with the superior endplate) between any of the imaging methods.
Spinal image-guidance systems may allow spine surgeons to place anterior thoracic screws more precisely, particularly in the axial plane. The improved accuracy of spinal implant insertion could ultimately provide a benefit to patient safety, especially in the setting of malaligned vertebral bodies after trauma.
Image-guided surgery; StealthStation; FluoroNav; Iso-C3D; Spinal instrumentation; Thoracic spine fixation; Anterior thoracic screws; Spinal cord injuries; Trauma
Free-hand thoracic pedicle screw placement is becoming more prevalent within neurosurgery residency training programs. This technique implements anatomic landmarks and tactile palpation without fluoroscopy or navigation to place thoracic pedicle screws. Because this technique is performed by surgeons in training, we wished to analyze the rate at which these screws were properly placed by residents by retrospectively reviewing the accuracy of resident-placed free-hand thoracic pedicle screws using computed tomography imaging. A total of 268 resident-placed thoracic pedicle screws was analyzed using axial computed tomography by an independent attending neuroradiologist. Eighty-five percent of the screws were completely within the pedicle and that 15% of the screws violated the pedicle cortex. The majority of the breaches were lateral breaches between 2 and 4 mm (46%). There was no clinical evidence of neurovascular injury or injury to the esophagus. There were no re-operations for screw replacement. We concluded that under appropriate supervision, neurosurgery residents can safely place free-hand thoracic pedicle screws with an acceptable breach rate.
Computed tomography; Free-hand; Pedicle screw; Resident; Thoracic
Pedicle screw instrumentation of the deformed cervical and thoracic spine is challenging to even the most experienced surgeon and associated with increased incidence of screw misplacement. Iso-C3D based navigation has been reported to improve the accuracy of pedicle screw placement, however, there are very few studies assessing its efficacy in the presence of deformity. We conducted a study to evaluate the accuracy of Iso-C3D based navigation in pedicle screw fixation in the deformed cervical and thoracic spine.
Materials and Methods:
We inserted 98 cervical pedicle screws (18 patients) and 242 thoracic pedicle screws (17 patients) using Iso-C3D based navigation for deformities of spine due to scoliosis, ankylosing spondylitis, post traumatic and degenerative disorders. Two independent observers determined and graded the accuracy of screw placement from postoperative computed tomography (CT) scans.
Postoperative CT scans of the cervical spine showed 90.8% perfectly placed screws with 7 (7%) grade I pedicle breaches, 2 (2%) grade II pedicle breaches and one anterior cortex penetration (< 2mm). Five lateral pedicle breaches violated the vertebral artery foramen and three medial pedicle breaches penetrated the spinal canal; however, no patient had any neurovascular complications. In the thoracic spine there were 92.2% perfectly placed screws with only six (2%) grade II pedicle breaches, eight (3%) grade I pedicle breaches and five screws (2%) penetrating the anterior or lateral cortex. No neuro-vascular complications were encountered.
Iso-C3D based navigation improves the accuracy of pedicle screw placement in deformities of the cervical and thoracic spine. The low incidence of pedicle breach implies increased safety for the patient.
Navigation; pedicle screw fixation; thoracic and cervical deformity
We retrospectively evaluated 488 percutaneous pedicle screws in 110 consecutive patients that had undergone minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MITLIF) to determine the incidence of pedicle screw misplacement and its relevant risk factors. Screw placements were classified based on postoperative computed tomographic findings as “correct”, “cortical encroachment” or as “frank penetration”. Age, gender, body mass index, bone mineral density, diagnosis, operation time, estimated blood loss (EBL), level of fusion, surgeon’s position, spinal alignment, quality/quantity of multifidus muscle, and depth to screw entry point were considered to be demographic and anatomical variables capable of affecting pedicle screw placement. Pedicle dimensions, facet joint arthritis, screw location (ipsilateral or contralateral), screw length, screw diameter, and screw trajectory angle were regarded as screw-related variables. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to examine relations between these variables and the correctness of screw placement. The incidence of cortical encroachment was 12.5% (61 screws), and frank penetration was found for 54 (11.1%) screws. Two patients (0.4%) with medial penetration underwent revision for unbearable radicular pain and foot drop, respectively. The odds ratios of significant risk factors for pedicle screw misplacement were 3.373 (95% CI 1.095–10.391) for obesity, 1.141 (95% CI 1.024–1.271) for pedicle convergent angle, 1.013 (95% CI 1.006–1.065) for EBL >400 cc, and 1.003 (95% CI 1.000–1.006) for cross-sectional area of multifidus muscle. Although percutaneous insertion of pedicle screws was performed safely during MITLIF, several risk factors should be considered to improve placement accuracy.
Risk factor; Percutaneous; Pedicle screw; Minimally invasive; TLIF
Several studies have looked at accuracy of thoracic pedicle screw placement using fluoroscopy, image guidance, and anatomical landmarks. To our knowledge the upper thoracic spine (T1–T6) has not been specifically studied in the context of screw insertion and placement accuracy without the use of either image guidance or fluoroscopy. Our objective was to study the accuracy of upper thoracic screw placement without the use of fluoroscopy or image guidance, and report on implant related complications. A single surgeon inserted 60 screws in 13 consecutive non-scoliotic spine patients. These were the first 60 screws placed in the high thoracic spine in our institution. The most common diagnosis in our patient population was trauma. All screws were inserted using a modified Roy-Camille technique. Post-operative axial computed tomography (CT) images were obtained for each patient and analyzed by an independent senior radiologist for placement accuracy. Implant related complications were prospectively noted. No pedicle screw misplacement was found in 61.5% of the patients. In the remaining 38.5% of patients some misplacements were noted. Fifty-three screws out of the total 60 implanted were placed correctly within all the pedicle margins. The overall pedicle screw placement accuracy was 88.3% using our modified Roy-Camille technique. Five medial and two lateral violations were noted in the seven misplaced screws. One of the seven misplaced screws was considered to be questionable in terms of pedicle perforation. No implant related complications were noted. We found that inserting pedicle screws in the upper thoracic spine based solely on anatomical landmarks was safe with an accuracy comparable to that of published studies using image-guided navigation at the thoracic level.
Spine surgery; Pedicle screws; Thoracic spine; Imaging studies
It is a retrospective analytic study of 1,009 transpedicular screws (689 thoracic and 320 lumbosacral), inserted with free-hand technique in neuromuscular scoliosis using postoperative CT scan. The aim of paper was to determine the accuracy and safety of transpedicular screw placement with free-hand technique in neuromuscular scoliosis and to compare the accuracy at different levels in such population. All studies regarding accuracy and safety of pedicle screw in scoliosis represent idiopathic scoliosis using various techniques such as free-hand, navigation, image intensifier, etc., for screw insertion. Anatomies of vertebrae and pedicle are distorted in scoliosis, hence accurate and safe placement of pedicle screw is prerequisite for surgery. Between 2004 and 2006, 37 consecutive patients, average age 20 years (9–44 years), of neuromuscular scoliosis were operated with posterior pedicle screw fixation using free-hand technique. Accuracy of pedicle screws was studied on postoperative CT scan. Placement up to 2 mm medial side and 4 mm lateral side was considered within-safe zone. Of the 1,009 screws, 273 screws were displaced medially, laterally or on the anterior side showing that 73% screws (68% in thoracic and 82.5% in lumbar spine) were accurately placed within pedicle. Considering the safe zone, 93.3% (942/1009, 92.4% in thoracic and 95.3% in lumbar spine) of the screws were within the safe zone. Comparing accuracy according to severity of curve, accuracy was 75% in group 1 (curve <90°) and 69% in group 2 (curve >90°) with a safety of 94.8 and 91.2%, respectively (P = 0.35). Comparing the accuracy at different thoracic levels, it showed 67, 64 and 72% accuracy in upper, middle and lower thoracic levels with safety of 96.6, 89.2 and 93.1%, respectively, exhibiting no statistical significant difference (P = 0.17). Pedicle screw placement in neuromuscular scoliosis with free-hand technique is accurate and safe as other conditions.
Neuromuscular scoliosis; Pedicle screw fixation; Free-hand technique; Postoperative CT scan; Accuracy; Safe
Cervical pedicle screw fixation is an effective procedure for stabilising an unstable motion segment; however, it has generally been considered too risky due to the potential for injury to neurovascular structures, such as the spinal cord, nerve roots or vertebral arteries. Since 1995, we have treated 144 unstable cervical injury patients with pedicle screws using a fluoroscopy-assisted pedicle axis view technique. The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of this technique in accurately placing pedicle screws to treat unstable cervical injuries, and the ensuing clinical outcomes and complications. The accuracy of pedicle screw placement was postoperatively examined by axial computed tomography scans and oblique radiographs. Solid posterior bony fusion without secondary dislodgement was accomplished in 96% of all cases. Of the 620 cervical pedicle screws inserted, 57 (9.2%) demonstrated screw exposure (<50% of the screw outside the pedicle) and 24 (3.9%) demonstrated pedicle perforation (>50% of the screw outside the pedicle). There was one case in which a probe penetrated a vertebral artery without further complication and one case with transient radiculopathy. Pre- and postoperative tracheotomy was required in 20 (13.9%) of the 144 patients. However, the tracheotomies were easily performed, because those patients underwent posterior surgery alone without postoperative external fixation. The placement of cervical pedicle screws using a fluoroscopy-assisted pedicle axis view technique provided good clinical results and a few complications for unstable cervical injuries, but a careful surgical procedure was needed to safely insert the screws and more improvement in imaging and navigation system is expected.
Pedicle screw fixation; Cervical spine; Cervical trauma; Fracture; Dislocation; Pedicle axis view; Placement; Complications
In spite of concerns about safety during their insertion, cervical spine pedicle screws have demonstrated biomechanical superiority over lateral mass screws in several biomechanical studies. One of the concerns for placement of cervical pedicle screws is their small size. Preoperative planning with computed tomography to assess pedicle width has been shown to be extremely accurate and is recommended by several authors. To date there has been no study assessing the accuracy of oblique radiographs for pedicle measurement. We sought to compare accuracy of the oblique radiographic measurements of cervical pedicle width with axial CT scan measurements. Five fresh-frozen human cadaveric cervical spines C3–C7 were studied. Thin cut 1.25 mm computed tomography axial cuts were made through the pedicle isthmus. Oblique radiographs at 35°, 45°, and 55° angles were taken of the right and left pedicles of each specimen using a standardized technique. Each radiograph contained a pin of known length to correct for magnification. All pedicles were again measured and corrected for magnification using the standard pin. Corrected oblique radiograph measurements were compared to CT for each specimen. The outer pedicle width was measured and agreed upon by consensus. The radiograph measurements were on average significantly larger than CT measurements for the pedicles indicating that the pin standard did not completely correct magnification. Plain radiographic data failed to reveal that one oblique angle was favorable to another in terms of magnification or precision. Plain radiographs at oblique angles do not provide accurate measurements of subaxial cervical pedicles at 35°, 45°, or 55° angles. We recommend that thin cut axial CT scans be obtained on all patients prior to transpedicular fixation in the cervical spine.
Cervical pedicles; Pedicle measurements; Pedicle screws; Oblique radiographs; CT scans
Variations in the pedicle morphology and presence of spinal deformities can make pedicle screw placement challenging. Recently, computerized tomography (CT) guided screw placement has reportedly improved the surgical accuracy of pedicle screw insertion. However, it is time consuming and expensive. We combined single-plane fluoroscopy in AP projection alone with tactile guidance for placing pedicle screws more efficiently and accurately. This report presents our results with this technique.
Materials and Methods:
An Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved retrospective study was carried out on 308 patients who underwent lumbar spinal fusion with 1806 pedicle screws placed using fluoroscopy only in the AP plane. There were 182 patients with two-level fusion, 79 with single-level fusion, 26 with three-level fusion, and 21 with more than three-level fusions. The indications of surgery included spondylolisthesis, adult scoliosis, revision surgery, lumbar canal stenosis, and discogenic pain. Pedicle screws were inserted under fluoroscopic guidance in the AP plane alone with a final lateral image after completion of implant placement. Radiographs were performed postoperatively in all patients and CT scans were obtained on 78 patients with 588 screws.
Twenty nine (5%) cortical wall perforations were noted amongst the 588 screws that were evaluated with a CT scan and did not result in postoperative vascular or neural complications. Anterior cortical vertebral violation was noted in 14 patients, while in 9 patients the screws penetrated the lateral wall of the pedicle. The medial wall of the pedicle was encroached in six patients with no frank perforations.
Placement of pedicle screws under fluoroscopic guidance using AP plane imaging alone with tactile guidance is safe, fast, and reliable. However, a good understanding of the radiographic landmarks is a prerequisite.
Lumbar spine; pedicle screw; fluoroscopy; AP imaging
Different navigation procedures (based on 2D-, 3D-fluoroscopy or CT modalities) with their respective limitations are established in orthopedic surgery. The hypothesis is that intraoperative matching of different modalities (fluoro and CT) increases the precision of navigated screw placement and reduces the fluoroscopy time. Vertical unstable pelvic ring fractures of 12 patients were treated with vertebro-pelvic fixations (6 in the standard technique and 6 using the fluoro-CT navigation). An optimal osseous corridor could be determined by the navigation procedure increasing the overall precision of screw placement (no misplacement in the second group as compared to one malplaced pedicle screw in the standard group). The achieved screw lengths were [(mean ± SE) 78 ± 5 vs. 53 ± 4 mm, p < 0.001). Less invasive open approaches and a reduction of fluoroscopy time (time per screw in seconds: 121 vs. 62 s) were observed. CT-fluoro-matched navigation improves the intraoperative visualization of osseous structures and increases the precision of screw placement with less radiation exposure.
Computer-assisted surgery; CT-fluoro matching; Navigation; Spino-pelvic dissociation; Pelvic fracture; Vertebro-pelvic fixation
The authors performed a retrospective study to assess the accuracy and clinical benefits of a navigation coupled with O-arm® system guided method in the thoracic and lumbar spines by comparing with a C-arm fluoroscopy-guided method.
Under the navigation guidance, 106 pedicle screws inserted from T7 to S1 in 24 patients, and using the fluoroscopy guidance, 204 pedicle screws from T5 to S1 in 45 patients. The position of screws within the pedicle was classified into four groups, from grade 0 (no violation cortex) to 3 (more than 4 mm violation). The location of violated pedicle cortex was also assessed. Intra-operative parameters including time required for preparation of screwing procedure, times for screwing and the number of X-ray shot were assessed in each group.
Grade 0 was observed in 186 (91.2%) screws of the fluoroscopy-guided group, and 99 (93.4%) of the navigation-guided group. Mean time required for inserting a screw was 3.8 minutes in the fluoroscopy-guided group, and 4.5 minutes in the navigation-guided group. Mean time required for preparation of screw placement was 4 minutes in the fluoroscopy-guided group, and 19 minutes in the navigation-guided group. The fluoroscopy-guided group required mean 8.9 times of X-ray shot for each screw placement.
The screw placement under the navigation-guidance coupled with O-arm® system appears to be more accurate and safer than that under the fluoroscopy guidance, although the preparation and screwing time for the navigation-guided surgery is longer than that for the fluoroscopy-guided surgery.
Cervical trauma; Sub-axial injury classification scale; Cervical spine injury; Interobserver agreement; Intraobserver reliability
Traditional surgical management of lumbosacral spondylolisthesis is technically challenging and is associated with significant complications. The advent of minimally invasive surgical techniques offers patients treatment alternatives with lower operative morbidity risk. The combination of percutaneous pedicle screw reduction and an axial presacral approach for lumbosacral discectomy and fusion offers an alternative procedure for the surgical management of low-grade lumbosacral spondylolisthesis.
Three patients who had L5-S1 grade 2 spondylolisthesis and who presented with axial pain and lumbar radiculopathy were treated with a minimally invasive surgical technique. The patients-a 51-year-old woman and two men (ages 46 and 50)-were Caucasian. Under fluoroscopic guidance, spondylolisthesis was reduced with a percutaneous pedicle screw system, resulting in interspace distraction. Then, an axial presacral approach with the AxiaLIF System (TranS1, Inc., Wilmington, NC, USA) was used to perform the discectomy and anterior fixation. Once the axial rod was engaged in the L5 vertebral body, further distraction of the spinal interspace was made possible by partially loosening the pedicle screw caps, advancing the AxiaLIF rod to its final position in the vertebrae, and retightening the screw caps. The operative time ranged from 173 to 323 minutes, and blood loss was minimal (50 mL). Indirect foraminal decompression and adequate fixation were achieved in all cases. All patients were ambulatory after surgery and reported relief from pain and resolution of radicular symptoms. No perioperative complications were reported, and patients were discharged in two to three days. Fusion was demonstrated radiographically in all patients at one-year follow-up.
Percutaneous pedicle screw reduction combined with axial presacral lumbar interbody fusion offers a promising and minimally invasive alternative for the management of lumbosacral spondylolisthesis.
Studies revealed that navigation systems that provided intraoperative assistance might improve pedicle screw insertion accuracy, and also implied that different systems provided different pedicle screw insertion accuracy. A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to focus on the pedicle screw insertion accuracy with or without the assistance of image-guided system, and the variance among the different navigation systems. Comparative studies were searched on pedicle screw insertion accuracy between conventional and navigated method, and among different navigation systems. A total of 43 papers, including 28 clinical, 14 cadaveric and 1 model studies, were included in the current study. For clinical articles, there were 3 randomized clinical trials, 4 prospective comparative studies and 21 retrospective comparative studies. The incidence of pedicle violation among computer tomography-based navigation method group was statistically significantly less than that observed among the conventional group (OR 95% CI, in vivo: 0.32–0.60; in vitro: 0.24–0.75 P < 0.01). Two-dimensional fluoroscopy-based navigation system (OR 95% CI, in vivo: 0.27–0.48; in vitro: 0.43–0.88 P < 0.01) and three-dimension fluoroscopy-based navigation system (OR 95% CI, in vivo: 0.09–0.38; in vitro: 0.09–0.36 P < 0.01) also obtained significant reduced screw deviation rate over traditional methods. Between navigated approaches, statistically insignificant individual and pooled RR values were observed for all in vivo subgroups. Pooled estimate of in vitro studies show that computer tomography-based and three-dimension fluoroscopy-based navigation system provided more accurate pedicle screw insertion over two-dimension fluoroscopy-based navigation system. Our review showed that navigation provided a higher accuracy in the placement of pedicle screws compared with conventional methods. The superiority of navigation systems was obvious when they were applied to abnormal spinal structure. Although no strong in vivo evidence has detected significantly different pedicle screw placement accuracy among the three major navigation systems, meta-analysis revealed the variance in pedicle screw insertion accuracy with different navigation methods.
Navigated spine surgery; Pedicle screw; Computer tomography; Fluoroscopy; Accuracy
Little is known about the long-term effects of chronic exposure to ionizing radiation. Studies have shown that spine surgeons may be exposed to significantly more radiation than that observed in surgery on the appendicular skeleton. Computer-assisted image guidance systems have been shown in preliminary studies to enable accurate instrumentation of the spine. Computer-assisted image guidance systems may have significant application to the surgical management of spinal trauma and deformity. The objective of this study was to compare C-arm fluoroscopy and computer-assisted image guidance in terms of radiation exposure to the operative surgeon when placing pedicle screw-rod constructs in cadaver specimens.
Twelve single-level (2 contiguous vertebral bodies) lumbar pedicle screw-rod constructs (48 screws) in 4 fresh cadavers were placed using standard C-arm fluoroscopy and computer-assisted image guidance (Stealth Station with Iso-C3D). Pedicle screw-rod constructs were placed at L1–L2, L3–L4, and L5–S1 in 4 fresh cadaver specimens. Imaging was alternated between C-arm fluoroscopy and computer-assisted image guidance with StealthStation Iso-C3D. Radiation exposure was measured using ring and badge dosimeters to monitor the thyroid, torso, and index finger. Postprocedure CT scans were obtained to judge accuracy of screw placement.
Mean radiation exposure to the torso was 4.33 ± 2.66 mRem for procedures performed with standard fluoroscopy and 0.33 ± 0.82 mRem for procedures performed with computer-assisted image guidance. This difference was statistically significant (P = 0.012). Radiation exposure to the index finger and thyroid was negligible for all procedures. The accuracy of screw placement was similar for both techniques.
Computer-assisted image guidance systems allow for the safe and accurate placement of pedicle screw-rod constructs with a significant reduction in exposure to ionizing radiation to the torso of the operating surgeon.
C-arm fluoroscopy; Radiation exposure; Minimally invasive surgery; computer-assisted, Image-guided; Pedicle screw; Intraoperative imaging; Surgical navigation systems
Transpedicular screw fixation has been accepted worldwide since Harrington et al. first placed pedicle screws through the isthmus. In vivo and in vitro studies indicated that pedicle screw insertion accuracy could be significantly improved with image-assisted systems compared with conventional approaches. The O-arm is a new generation intraoperative imaging system designed without compromise to address the needs of a modern OR like no other system currently available. The aim of our study was to check the accuracy of O-arm based and S7-navigated pedicle screw implants in comparison to free-hand technique described by Roy-Camille at the lumbar and sacral spine using CT scans. The material of this study was divided into two groups, free-hand group (group I) (30 patients; 152 screws) and O-arm group (37 patients; 187 screws). The patients were operated upon from January to September 2009. Screw implantation was performed during PLIF or TLIF mainly for spondylolisthesis, osteochondritis and post-laminectomy syndrome. The accuracy rate in our work was 94.1% in the free-hand group compared to 99% in the O-arm navigated group. Thus it was concluded that free-hand technique will only be safe and accurate when it is in the hands of an experienced surgeon and the accuracy of screw placement with O-arm can reach 100%.
Pedicle screws; Image-guided surgery; Spine navigation; O-arm
Pedicle screw fixation is the most preferred method of stabilizing unstable spinal fractures. Pedicle screw placement may be difficult in presence of fractured posterior elements, deformed spine, gross instability and spinal pathology. Challenging spine-fracture fixation is defined as the presence of one or more of the following: 1) obscured topographical landmarks as in ankylosing spondylitis, 2) fractures in occipitocervical or cervicothoracic regions and 3) preexisting altered spinal alignment. We report a series of pedicle screw insertion with guidance of navigation in difficult fixation problems..
Materials and Methods:
Fourteen patients [hangman's fracture (n=3), odontoid fracture (n=4), C1C2 fracture (n=1) and spinal fracture with coexistent ankylosing spondylitis (n=6)] underwent posterior stabilization. Intraoperatively after surgical exposure, images were acquired by Iso-C 3D C-arm and transferred to navigation system. Instrumentation was performed with navigational assistance. Postoperatively, placements of pedicle screws were evaluated with radiographs and CT scan.
Sixty-seven pedicle screws (cervical, n=33; thoracic, n=6; lumbar, n=26; sacral n=2) and 15 lateral mass screws were inserted with navigation guidance. The average time of image data acquisition by Iso-C 3D C-arm and its transfer to workstation was 4 minutes (range, 2-6 minutes). Postoperative CT scan revealed ideal placement of screws in 63 pedicles (94%), grade 1 cortical breaches (<2 mm) in 3 pedicles (4.5%) and grade 2 cortical breach (2-4 mm) in one pedicle (1.5%). There were no neurovascular complications. Deep infection was encountered in one case, which settled with debridement.
Intraoperative Iso-C 3D C-arm based navigation is a useful adjunct while stabilizing challenging spinal trauma, rendering feasibility, accuracy and safety of pedicle screw placement even in difficult situations.
Computer-assisted surgery; neuronavigation; pedicle screw; spine fracture; challenging spinal trauma
The objective of the study was to describe the technique, accuracy of placement and complications of transpedicular C2 screw fixation without spinal navigation. Patients treated by C2 pedicle screw fixations were identified from the surgical log book of the department. Clinical data were extracted retrospectively from the patients’ charts. Pedicle screw placement accuracy was assessed on postoperative CT scans according to Gertzbein and Robbins (GRGr). A total of 27 patients were included in the study. The mean age of the patients was 56 ± 22.0 years; 51.9% of them were female. As much as 17 patients suffered from trauma, 5 of degenerative disease, 3 of inflammations and 2 of metastatic disease. A total of 47 C2 transpedicular screw fixations were performed. The canulated screws were inserted under visual control following the preparation of the superior surface of the isthmus and of the medial surface of the pedicles of the C2. Intraoperative fluoroscopy was additionally used. The postoperative CT findings showed in 55.3% GRGr 1, in 27.7% GRGr 2, in 10.6% GRGr 3, and in 6.3% GRGr 4 pedicle screw insertion accuracy. Screw insertions GRGr 5 were not observed. Screw malpositioning (i.e., GRGr 3 and 4) was significantly associated with thin (<5 mm) pedicle diameters and with surgery for C2 fractures. In the three patients with screw insertions GRGr 4, postoperative angiographies were performed to exclude vertebral artery affections. In one of these three cases, the screw caused a clinically asymptomatic vertebral artery compression. Hardware failures did not occur. In one patient, postoperative pneumonia resulted in the death of the patient. Careful patient selection and surgical technique is necessary to avoid vertebral artery injury in C2 pedicle screw fixation without spinal navigation. A slight opening of the vertebral artery canal (Gertzbein and Robbins grade ≤3) does not seem to put the artery at risk. However, the high rate of misplaced screws when inserted without spinal navigation, despite the fact that no neurovascular injury occurred, supports the use of spinal navigation in C2 pedicle screw insertions.
C2 pedicle screw; Placement accuracy; Vertebral artery; Spinal navigation
Minimally invasive surgery has become more and more important for the treatment of traumatic spine fractures. Besides, some clinical studies, objective data regarding the possible lower damage to the surrounding tissue of the spine is still missing. Here we report a sheep model where we compared a percutaneous versus an open approach for dorsal instrumentation with pedicle screws to the spine. Twelve skeletally mature sheep underwent bilateral pedicle screw fixation at the L4–L6 level. Forty-eight pedicle screws were bilaterally inserted into the pedicles and connected with rods using either an open dorsal standard or a percutaneous approach. Operation time, blood flow, compartment pressure, radiation time, loss of blood, laboratory findings and EMG were evaluated to objectify possible advantages for the percutaneous operation technique. Loss of blood and the distribution of CK-MM as a marker for muscle damage were significantly lower in the percutaneous group. However, radiation time was significantly longer in the percutaneous group. Other parameters like compartment pressure, blood flow and also measurement of the EMG at different time points did not reveal significant differences. Based on the results we found in the present study, percutaneous screw insertion can bring moderate advantages but it should be noted that essential functional deficits to the muscle could not be detected.
Spine; Minimal-invasive surgery; Pedicle screw; Animal study
In situ pinning with a single screw is the treatment of choice for symptomatic slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE). Some technical features are critical and include proper screw entry point, screw direction in relation to the epiphysis, and the length of screw. These are complicated by the deformity created as a result of the posterior slip of the epiphysis. Fluoroscopic based computerized navigation system can increase precision in screw placement while performing the surgical task, and markedly reduce radiation. By using real fluoroscopy-based navigation, the screw can be placed with only two fluoroscopic images. Entry point, length, and precise direction can all be easily determined through this technique.
slipped capital femoral epiphysis; computerized navigation; in situ pinning