Delayed complications following lumbar spine fusion may occur amongst which is adjacent segment degeneration (ASD). Although interspinous implants have been successfully used in spinal stenosis to authors’ knowledge such implants have not been previously used to reduce ASD in instrumented lumbar fusion. This prospective controlled study was designed to investigate if the implantation of an interspinous implant cephalad to short lumbar and lumbosacral instrumented fusion could eliminate the incidence of ASD and subsequently the related re-operation rate. Groups W and C enrolled initially each 25 consecutive selected patients. Group W included patients, who received the Wallis interspinous implant in the unfused vertebral segment cephalad to instrumentation and the group C selected age-, diagnosis-, level-, and instrumentation-matched to W group patients without interspinous implant (controls). The inclusion criterion for Wallis implantation was UCLA arthritic grade UCLA grade II in the adjacent two segments cephalad to instrumentation. All patients suffered from symptomatic spinal stenosis and underwent decompression and 2–4 levels stabilization with rigid pedicle screw fixation and posterolateral fusion by a single surgeon. Lumbar lordosis, disc height (DH), segmental range of motion (ROM), and percent olisthesis in the adjacent two cephalad to instrumentation segments were measured preoperatively, and postoperatively until the final evaluation. VAS, SF-36, and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) were used. One patient of group W developed pseudarthrosis: two patients of group C deep infection and one patient of group C ASD in the segment below instrumentation and were excluded from the final evaluation. Thus, 24 patients of group W and 21 in group C aged 65+ 13 and 64+ 11 years, respectively were included in the final analysis. The follow-up averaged 60 ± 6 months. The instrumented levels averaged 2.5 + 1 vertebra for both groups. All 45 spines showed radiological fusion 8–12 months postoperatively. Lumbar lordosis did not change postoperatively. Postoperatively at the first cephalad adjacent segment: DH increased in the group W (P = 0.042); ROM significantly increased only in group C (ANOVA, P < 0.02); olisthesis decreased both in flexion (P = 0.0024) and extension (P = 0.012) in group W. The degeneration or deterioration of already existed ASD in the two cephalad segments was shown in 1 (4.1%) and 6 (28.6%) spines in W and C groups, respectively. Physical function (SF-36) and ODI improved postoperatively (P < 0.001), but in favour of the patients of group W (P < 0.05) at the final evaluation. Symptomatic ASD required surgical intervention was in 3 (14%) patients of group C and none in group W. ASD remains a significant problem and accounts for a big portion of revision surgery following instrumented lumbar fusion. In this series, the Wallis interspinous implant changed the natural history of ASD and saved the two cephalad adjacent unfused vertebra from fusion, while it lowered the radiographic ASD incidence until to 5 years postoperatively. Longer prospective randomized studies are necessary to prove the beneficial effect of the interspinous implant cephalad and caudal to instrumented fusion. We recommend Wallis device for UCLA degeneration I and II.
Adjacent segment degeneration; Wallis; Lumbar fusion; Disc degeneration
Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) using threaded cages has gained wide popularity for lumbosacral spinal disease. Our biomechanical tests showed that PLIF using a single diagonal cage with unilateral facetectomy does add a little to spinal stability and provides equal or even higher postoperative stability than PLIF using two posterior cages with bilateral facetectomy. Studies also demonstrated that cages placed using a posterior approach did not cause the same increase in spinal stiffness seen with pedicle screw instrumentation, and we concluded that cages should not be used posteriorly without other forms of fixation. On the other hand, placement of two cages using a posterior approach does have the disadvantage of risk to the bilateral nerve roots. We therefore performed a prospective study to determine whether PLIF can be accomplished by utilizing a single diagonal fusion cage with the application of supplemental transpedicular screw/rod instrumentation. Twenty-seven patients underwent a PLIF using one single fusion cage (BAK, Sulzer Spine-Tech, Minneapolis, MN, USA) inserted posterolaterally and oriented anteromedially on the symptomatic side with unilateral facetectomy and at the same level supplemental fixation with a transpedicular screw/rod system. The internal fixation systems included 12 SOCON spinal systems (Aesculap AG, Germany) and 15 TSRH spinal systems (Medtronic Sofamor Danek, USA). The inclusion criteria were grade 1 to 2 lumbar isthmic spondylolisthesis, lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis, and recurrent lumbar disc herniations with instability. Patients had at least 1 year of low back pain and/or unilateral sciatica and a severely restricted functional ability in individuals aged 28–55 years. Patients with more than grade 2 spondylolisthesis or adjacent-level degeneration were excluded from the study. Patients were clinically assessed prior to surgery by an independent assessor; they were then reassessed at 1, 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months postoperatively by the same assessor and put into four categories: excellent, good, fair, and poor. Operative time, blood loss, hospital expense, and complications were also recorded. All patients achieved successful radiographic fusion at 2 years, and this was achieved at 1 year in 25 out of 27 patients. At 2 years, clinical results were excellent in 15patients, good in 10, fair in 1, and poor in 1. Regarding complications, one patient had a postoperative motor and sensory deficit of the nerve root. Reoperation was required in one patient due to migration of pedicle screws. No implant fractures or deformities occurred in any of the patients. PLIF using diagonal insertion of a single threaded cage with supplemental transpedicular screw/rod instrumentation enables sufficient decompression and solid interbody fusion to be achieved with minimal invasion of the posterior spinal elements. It is a clinically safer, easier, and more economical means of accomplishing PLIF.
Lumbar Fusion cage Implant Transpedicular screw Interbody
In order to minimize perioperative invasiveness and improve the patients’ functional capacity of daily living, we have performed minimally invasive lumbar decompression and posterolateral fusion (MIS-PLF) with percutaneous pedicle screw fixation for degenerative spondylolisthesis with spinal stenosis. Although several minimally invasive fusion procedures have been reported, no study has yet demonstrated the efficacy of MIS-PLF in degenerative spondylolisthesis of the lumbar spine. This study prospectively compared the mid-term clinical outcome of MIS-PLF with those of conventional PLF (open-PLF) focusing on perioperative invasiveness and patients’ functional capacity of daily living.
Materials and methods
A total of 80 patients received single-level PLF for lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis with spinal stenosis. There were 43 cases of MIS-PLF and 37 cases of open-PLF. The surgical technique of MIS-PLF included making a main incision (4 cm), and neural decompression followed by percutaneous pedicle screwing and rod insertion. The posterolateral gutter including the medial transverse process was decorticated and iliac bone graft was performed. The parameters analyzed up to a 2-year period included the operation time, intra and postoperative blood loss, Oswestry-Disability Index (ODI), Roland-Morris Questionnaire (RMQ), the Japanese Orthopaedic Association score, and the visual analogue scale of low back pain. The fusion rate and complications were also reviewed.
The average operation time was statistically equivalent between the two groups. The intraoperative blood loss was significantly less in the MIS-PLF group (181 ml) when compared to the open-PLF group (453 ml). The postoperative bleeding on day 1 was also less in the MIS-PLF group (210 ml) when compared to the open-PLF group (406 ml). The ODI and RMQ scores rapidly decreased during the initial postoperative 2 weeks in the MIS-PLF group, and consistently maintained lower values than those in the open-PLF group at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively. The fusion rate was statistically equivalent between the two groups (98 vs. 100%), and no major complications occurred.
The MIS-PLF utilizing a percutaneous pedicle screw system is less invasive compared to conventional open-PLF. The reduction in postoperative pain led to an increase in activity of daily living (ADL), demonstrating rapid improvement of several functional parameters. This superiority in the MIS-PLF group was maintained until 2 years postoperatively, suggesting that less invasive PLF offers better mid-term results in terms of reducing low back pain and improving patients’ functional capacity of daily living. The MIS-PLF utilizing percutaneous pedicle screw fixation serves as an alternative technique, eliminating the need for conventional open approach.
Minimally invasive spine surgery; Posterolateral fusion; Percutaneous pedicle screw; Degenerative spondylolisthesis; Lumbar spine
On the basis of the experiences gained from conventional open spinal procedures, a long list of desirable objectives have emerged with the evolution of the lesser invasive spinal procedures. At the top of that list is the desire to minimize the trauma of surgery. The rest of the objectives, which include reductions of operating time, surgical blood loss, hospital stay, postoperative narcotic medication, convalescence, complication rates, and escalating health care costs, as well as the desire of elderly patients to continue rigorous physical activities, largely depend on the ability to minimize the trauma of surgery. The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of the least invasive lumbar decompression, interbody fusion and percutaneous pedicle screw implantation, to minimize surgical trauma without compromising the quality of the treatment outcome, as well as to minimize risk of complications.
In this case series, 60 patients with diagnoses of degenerative disc disease, degenerative motion segments with stenosis, and spondylolisthesis, in whom nonoperative treatments failed, were treated with endoscopic transforaminal decompression and interbody fusion by 1 surgeon in 2 centers. The outcome measures were as follows: operating time, intraoperative blood loss, hospital stay, Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) scores for back and leg pain, scores on the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire, and postoperative imaging studies. A consecutive series of patients who met the treatment criteria completed VAS forms and Roland-Morris questionnaires preoperatively. Surgical procedures included arthroscopic decompression of the foramina and the discs; endplate preparation and implantation of allograft bone chips and bone morphogenetic protein 2 on absorbable collagen sponge into the disc space; and percutaneous implantation of pedicle screws. Postoperatively, the patients again completed the VAS forms and Roland-Morris questionnaires. Their charts were reviewed for office notes, operative notes, hospital stay, medications, and imaging studies. The latest X-ray and computed tomography scan films were reviewed and analyzed. Patients were followed up for a minimum of 6 months. The literature was reviewed for comparison of outcomes.
Sixty patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean age was 52.8 years. The duration of illness averaged 5 years. Follow-up ranged from 6 to 25 months, with a mean of 12 months. Preoperative diagnoses included degenerative disc disease, degenerative motion segments with stenosis, and spondylolisthesis. The mean time in the operating room was 2 hours 54 minutes. Estimated blood loss averaged 57.6 mL. The duration of the hospital stay averaged 2.6 days. Preoperative back pain and leg pain were significantly reduced (P < .005). Forty-seven imaging studies obtained at the last visit, including X-ray and computed tomography scans, showed solid fusion in 28 patients (59.6%), stable fixation in 17 (36.2%), and osteolysis around the pedicle screws in 2 (4.2%). All patients had improvement of motor function, whereas 2 patients complained of residual numbness. In addition, 8 patients (13%) complained of residual discomfort on extension of the lumbar spine. Two patients had pedicle screw–related complications requiring surgery. A review of the literature showed that endoscopic transforaminal decompression and interbody fusion performed better than open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion/posterior lumbar interbody fusion, minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, and extreme lateral lumbar interbody fusion, with regard to most parameters studied.
The endoscopic transforaminal lumbar decompression, interbody fusion, and percutaneous pedicle screw instrumentation consistently produced satisfactory results in all demographics. It performed better than the alternative procedures for most parameters studied.
ETDIF; Arthroscopic; Posterolateral; Interbody; Percutaneous; BMP-2
The 360° fusion of lumbar segments is a common and well-researched therapy to treat various diseases of the spine. But it changes the biomechanics of the spine and may cause adjacent segment disease (ASD). Among the many techniques developed to avoid this complication, one appears promising. It combines a rigid fusion with a flexible pedicle screw system (hybrid instrumentation, “topping off”). However, its clinical significance is still uncertain due to the lack of conclusive data.
The study is a randomized, therapy-controlled, two-centre trial conducted in a clinical setting at two university hospitals. If they meet the criteria, outpatients presenting with degenerative disc disease, facet joint arthrosis or spondylolisthesis will be included in the study and randomized into two groups: a control group undergoing conventional fusion surgery (PLIF - posterior lumbar intervertebral fusion), and an intervention group undergoing fusion surgery using a new flexible pedicle screw system (PLIF + “topping off”), which was brought on the market in 2013.
Follow-up examination will take place immediately after surgery, after 6 weeks and after 6, 12, 24 and 36 months. An ongoing assessment will be performed every year.
Outcome measurements will include quality of life and pain assessments using validated questionnaires (ODI - Ostwestry Disability Index, SF-36™ - Short Form Health Survey 36, COMI - Core Outcome Measure Index). In addition, clinical and radiologic ASD, sagittal balance parameters and duration of work disability will be assessed. Inpatient and 6-month mortality, surgery-related data (e.g., intraoperative complications, blood loss, length of incision, surgical duration), postoperative complications (e.g. implant failure), adverse events, and serious adverse events will be monitored and documented throughout the study.
New hybrid “topping off” systems might improve the outcome of lumbar spine fusion. But to date, there is a serious lack of and a great need of convincing data on safety or efficacy, including benefits and harms to the patients, of these systems. Health care providers are particularly interested in such data as these implants are much more expensive than conventional implants. In such a case, randomized clinical trials are the best way to evaluate benefits and risks.
This morphometric and experimental study was designed to assess the dimensions and axes of the subaxial cervical pedicles and to compare the accuracy of two different techniques for subaxial cervical pedicle screw (CPS) placement using newly designed aiming devices. Transpedicular fixation is increasingly used for stabilizing the subaxial cervical spine. Development of the demanding technique is based on morphometric studies of the pedicle anatomy. Several surgical techniques have been developed and evaluated with respect to their feasibility and accuracy. The study was carried out on six conserved human cadavers (average age 85 years). Axes and dimensions of the pedicles C3–C7 (60 pedicles) were measured using multislice computed tomography (CT) images prior to surgery. Two groups consisting of 3 specimens and 30 pedicles each were established according to the screw placement technique. For surgical technique 1 (ST1) a para-articular mini-laminotomy was performed. Guidance of the drill through the pedicle with a handheld aiming device attached onto the medial aspect of the pedicle inside the spinal canal. Screw hole preparation monitored by lateral fluoroscopy. In surgical technique 2 (ST2) a more complex aiming device was used for screw holes drilling. It consists of a frame with a fully adjustable radiolucent arm for carrying the instruments necessary for placing the screws. The arm was angled according to the cervical pedicle axis as determined by the preoperative CT scans. Drilling was monitored by lateral fluoroscopy. In either technique 3.5 mm screws made of carbon fiber polyetheretherketone (CF-PEEK) were inserted. The use of the CF-PEEK screws allowed for precise postoperative CT-assessment since this material does not cause artifacts. Screw placement was qualified from ideal to unacceptable into four grades: I = screw centered in pedicle; IIa = perforation of pedicle wall less than one-fourth of the screw diameter; IIb = perforation more than one-fourth of the screw diameter without contact to neurovascular structures; III = screw more than one-fourth outside the pedicle with contact to neurovascular structures. Fifty-six pedicle screws could be evaluated according to the same CT protocol that was used preoperatively. Accuracy of pedicle screw placement did not reveal significant differences between techniques 1 and 2. A tendency towards less severe misplacements (grade III) was seen in ST2 (15% in ST2 vs. 23% in ST1) as well as a higher rate of screw positions graded IIa (62% in ST2 vs. 43% in ST1). C4 and C5 were identified to be the most critical vertebral levels with three malpositioned screws each. Because of the variability of cervical pedicles preoperative CT evaluation with multiplanar reconstructions of the pedicle anatomy is essential for transpedicular screw placement in the cervical spine. Cadaver studies remain mandatory to develop safer and technically less demanding procedures. A similar study is projected to further develop the technique of CPS fixation with regard to safety and clinical practicability.
Cervical spine; Cervical pedicle; Anatomical study; Fixation technique
Transpedicular screws are commonly and successfully used for posterior fixation in spinal instability, but their insertion remains challenging. Even using navigation techniques, there is a misplacement rate of up to 11%. The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of a novel pedicle screw system.
Thoracic and lumbar fusions were performed on 67 consecutive patients for tumor, trauma, degenerative disease or infection. A total of 326 pedicular screws were placed using a novel wire-guided, cannulated, polyaxial screw system (XIA Precision®, Stryker). The accuracy of placement was assessed postoperatively by CT scan, and the patients were followed-up clinically for a mean of 16 months.
The total medio-caudal pedicle wall perforation rate was 9.2% (30/326). In 19 of these 30 cases a cortical breakthrough of less than 2 mm occurred. The misplacement rate (defined as a perforation of 2 mm or more) was 3.37% (11/326). Three of these 11 screws needed surgical revision due to neurological symptoms or CSF leakage. There have been no screw breakages or dislocations over the follow up-period.
We conclude that the use of this cannulated screw system for the placement of pedicle screws in the thoracic and lumbar spine is accurate and safe. The advantages of this technique include easy handling without a time-consuming set up. Considering the incidence of long-term screw breakage, further investigation with a longer follow-up period is necessary.
spinal instrumentation; pedicle screws; misplacement; pedicle wall perforation
Interspinous fusion devices (IFDs) are increasingly offered to patients over the age of 50 with lumbar spinal stenosis and intermittent neurogenic claudication. Here, we review the literature on complication rates, reoperation rates, and outcomes for implanting IFD, and offer an assessment of IFD charges at a single institution in 2010.
The literature concerning IFD implants was reviewed with particular attention focused on complications, reoperation rates, and outcomes. Additionally, the costs of implanting 31 IFD devices in 16 patients at one to three levels at a single institution in 2010 are presented.
Reviewing the spinal literature concerning the postoperative status of IFD followed over an average of 23–42.9 postoperative months revealed that IFD resulted in 11.6–38% complication rate, 4.6–85% reoperation rate, and 66.7–77% frequency of poor outcomes. Additionally, the 31 devices implanted in 16 patients at a single university hospital in 2010 cost a total of $576,407.
With high maximal complication rates (38%), reoperation rates (85%), poor outcomes (77%), and high costs ($576,407 for 31 devices in 16 patients), the utilization and implantation of IFD remains extremely controversial and should be investigated further.
Complications; high costs; interspinous fusion devices; lumbar stenosis; poor outcomes; reoperations
This study is to compare the therapeutic effect of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) with pedicle screw fixation on treatment in adult degenerative spondylolisthesis. A retrospective analysis of 187 patients to compare the complications and associated predictive factors of the two techniques of one level lumbar fusion. Ninety-one had PLIF with two cages and pedicle fixation (group 1), and ninety-six had TLIF with one cage and pedicle fixation (group 2). The two groups had similar age and sex distribution, and level of pain. Inclusion criteria and outcome measurements were identical in both groups. The two groups were operated on with autograft and cage with pedicle fixation. Before surgery and at the 2-year follow-up, pain (VAS) and functional disability (JOA) were quantified. The results showed there were no intraoperative deaths in our study. In the end 176 cases had 2-year follow-up while 11 cases were lost to follow-up. The follow-up rate was 93.4% (85/91) in the PLIF group and 94.8% (91/96) in the TLIF group. All patients had bone fusion, and there were no cases of cage extrusion. The pain index improved from 7.08 ± 1.13 to 2.84 ± 0.89 in PLIF patients and improved from 7.18 ± 1.09 to 2.84 ± 0.91 in TLIF patients (P < 0.001). There were 42 cases of excellent, 29 cases of good, 11 cases of general, and 3 cases of poor results in PLIF group. There were 46 cases of excellent, 31 case of good, 12 case of general, and 2 cases of poor results in TLIF group. The JOA score in all patients was 84.1% of good or excellent (83.5% in PLIF and 84.6% in TLIF, P > 0.05). The average preoperative slip was 30.1 ± 7.2% in PLIF group while in the TLIF it was 31.4 ± 8.3%. Immediately post operatively it was reduced to 7.3 ± 2.1% and 7.4 ± 2.7% and at last F/U it was 8.1 ± 2.8% and 8.2 ± 2.6%, respectively. The average of reduction rate was 75.2 ± 6.4% in PLIF and 75.4 ± 6.2 in TLIF on the initial post operatively X-ray, and 72.6 ± 5.2% and 72.4 ± 5.4% on the follow-up. The percentage rate, reduction rate and lost of reduction rate between the two groups was similar (P > 0.05). The average pre operative disk and foramen height in the PLIF group improved from 6.8 ± 2.3 and 14.2 ± 1.7 preoperatively to 11.6 ± 1.5 and 18.7 ± 1.8 post operatively, respectively. At last follow up there was minimal lost of correction down to 11.24 ± 1.2 and 18.1 ± 1.8, respectively. Similarly in the TLIF group, pre operative disk and foramen height were improved from 6.7 ± 1.7 and 14.1 ± 1.8 to 11.4 ± 1.6 and 18.5 ± 1.6 immediately post operative. At last follow up minimal lost of correction was noted with average disc height of 11.3 ± 1.4 and 18.2 ± 1.7. Both techniques achieve statistical significance in restoration of disc and foraminal (P < 0.01); however, there was no statistical difference between the two techniques. In conclusion, interbody fusion with either a PLIF technique or a TLIF technique provides good outcomes in the treatment of adult degenerative spondylolisthesis. The TLIF procedure is simpler and is as safe and effective as the PLIF technique.
Spondyolisthesis; Interverterbral fusion; Internal fixation
Grob et al. (Eur Spine J 5:281–285, 1996) illustrated a new fixation technique in inveterate cases of grade 2–3 spondylolisthesis (degenerative or spondylolytic): a fusion without reduction of the spondylolisthesis. Fixation of the segment was achieved by two cancellous bone screws inserted bilaterally through the pedicles of the lower vertebra into the body of the upper slipped vertebra. Since 1998 we have been using this technique according to the authors’ indications: symptomatic spondylolisthesis with at least 25% anterior slippage and advanced disc degeneration. Afterwards this technique was used also in spondylolisthesis with low reduction of the disc height and slippage less than 25%. In every case we performed postero-lateral fusion and fixation with two AO 6.5 Ø thread 16 mm cancellous screws. From 1998 to 2002 we performed 62 fusions for spondylolisthesis with this technique: 28 males (45.16%) and 34 females (54.84%), mean age 45 years (14–72 years). The slipped vertebra was L5 in 57 cases (92%), L4 in 2 cases (3.2%), L3 in 1 case (1.6%), combined L4 and L5 in 2 cases (3.2%). In all cases there was an ontogenetic spondylolisthesis with lysis. Lumbar pain was present in 22 patients and lumbar-radicular pain was present in 40 patients. The mean preoperative VAS was 6.2 (range 5–8) for lumbar pain, and 5.5 (range 4–7) for leg pain. The fusion area was L5–S1 in 53 cases (85.5%), L3–L4 in 1 case (1.6%), L4–S1 in 8 cases (12.9%). A decompression of the spinal canal by laminectomy was performed in 33 procedures (53%). When possible a bone graft was done from the removed neural arc, and from the posterior iliac crest in the other cases. The mean blood loss was about 254 ml (100–1,000). The mean operative time was 75 min (range 60–90). The results obtained by computerized analysis at follow-up at least 5 years after surgery showed a significant improvement in preoperative symptoms. The patients were asymptomatic in 52 cases (83.9%); strained-back pain was present in 8 cases (12.9%), and there was persistent lumbar-radicular pain in 2 cases (3.2%). The mean ODI score was 2.6%, the mean VAS back pain was 1.3, the mean VAS leg pain 0.7. Some complications were observed: a nerve root compression by a screw invasion of intervertebral foramen, resolved by screw removal; an iliac artery compression by a lateral exit screw from pediculo, resolved by screw removal; a deep iliac vein phlebitis with thrombosis caused by external compression due to a wrong intraoperative position, treated by medicine. Two cases of synthesis mobilization and two cases of broken screws was detected. No cases of pseudoarthrosis and immediate or late superficial or deep infection were observed. The analysis of the long-term results of the spondylolisthesis surgical treatment with direct pediculo-body screw fixation and postero-lateral fusion gave a very satisfactory response. The technique is reliable in allowing an optimal primary stability, creating the best biomechanical conditions to obtain a solid fusion.
Spondylolisthesis; Spinal fusion; Back pain; Radicular pain
Clinical and radiological results of posterior dynamic stabilization using interspinous U (ISU, Coflex™, Paradigm Spine Inc.®, NY, USA) were analyzed in comparison with posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) in degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS).
A retrospective study was conducted for a consecutive series of 61 patients with degenerative LSS between May 2003 and December 2005. We included only the patients completed minimum 24 months follow up evaluation. Among them, 30 patients were treated with implantation of ISU after decompressive laminectomy (Group ISU) and 31 patients were treated with wide decompressive laminectomy and posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF; Group PLIF). We evaluated visual analogue scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) for clinical outcomes (VAS, ODI), disc height ratio disc height (DH), disc height/vertebral body length ×100), static vertebral slip (VS) and depth of maximal radiolucent gap between ISU and spinous process) in preoperative, immediate postoperative and last follow up.
The mean age of group ISU (66.2 ± 6.7 years) was 6.2 years older than the mean age of group PLIF (60.4 ± 8.1 years; p = 0.003 ). In both groups, clinical measures improved significantly than preoperative values (p < 0.001). Operation time and blood loss was significantly shorter and lower in group ISU than group PLIF (p < 0.001). In group ISU, the DH increased transiently in immediate postoperative period (15.7 ± 4.5% → 18.6 ± 5.9%), however decreased significantly in last follow up (13.8 ± 6.6%, p = 0.027). Vertebral slip (VS) of spondylolisthesis in group ISU increased during postoperative follow-up (2.3 ± 3.3 → 8.7 ± 6.2, p = 0.040). Meanwhile, the postoperatively improved DH and VS was maintained in group PLIF in last follow up.
According to our result, implantation of ISU after decompressive laminectomy in degenerative LSS is less invasive and provides similar clinical outcome in comparison with the instrumented fusion. However, the device has only transient effect on the postoperative restoration of disc height and reduction of slip in spondylolisthesis. Therefore, in the biomechanical standpoint, it is hard to expect that use of Interspinous U in decompressive laminectomy for degenerative LSS had long term beneficial effect.
Degenerative spinal stenosis; Lumbar; Dynamic stabilization; Interspinous U; Coflex™; Posterior lumbar interbody fusion
Several types of pedicle screw systems have been utilized to augment lumbar spine fusion. The majority of these systems are made of stainless steel (Ss), but titanium-alloy (Ti-alloy) devices have recently been available on the market. Ti-alloy implants have several potential advantages over Ss ones. High bioactivity and more flexibility may improve bone ingrowth and mechanical fixation, and the material also offers superior magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) resolution and significantly less signal interference. However, no data are available from loaded spinal constructs regarding bony ingrowth and mechanical fixation. The aim of this study was to analyse the effect of Ti-alloy versus Ss pedicle screws on mechanical fixation and bone ingrowth in a loaded mini-pig model. Eighteen adult mini-pigs underwent total laminectomy and posterolateral spinal fusion at L3-L4, and were randomly selected to receive either Ss (n = 9) or Ti (n = 9) pedicle screw devices. In both groups, the device used was compact Cotrel-Dubousset instrumentation (Sofamore Danek) of an identical size and shape. The postoperative observation time was ¶3 months. Screws from L3 were used for histomorphometric studies. Mechanical testing (torsional tests and pull-out tests) was performed on the screws from L4. The Ti screws had a higher maximum torque (P < 0.05) and angular stiffness (P < 0.07), measured by torsional testing. In the pull-out tests, no differences were found between the two groups with respect to the maximum load, stiffness and energy to failure. No correlation between removal torque and the pull-out strength was found (r = 0.1). Bone ongrowth on Ti was increased by 33% compared with Ss ¶(P < 0.04), whereas no differences in bone volume around the screws were shown. Mechanical binding at the bone-screw interface was significantly greater for Ti pedicle screws than for Ss, which was explained by the fact that Ti screws had a superior bone ongrowth. There was no correlation between the screw removal torque and the pull-out strength, which indicates that the peripheral bone structure around the screw was unaffected by the choice of metal.
Key words Pedicle screw; Titanium; Stainless steel; Pull-out test; Torsion; Histomorphometry
Cervical laminectomies with transpedicular insertion technique is known to be a biomechanically stronger method in cervical pathologies. However, its frequency of use is low in the routine practice, as the pedicle is thin and risk of neurovascular damage is high. In this study, we emphasize the results of cervical laminectomies with transpedicular fixation using fluoroscopy in degenerative cervical spine disorder.
Materials and Methods:
Postoperative malposition of the transpedicular screws of the 70 pedicles of the 10 patients we operated due to degenerative stenosis in the cervical region, were investigated. Fixation was performed between C3 and C7, and we used resected lamina bone chips for fusion. Clinical indicators included age, gender, neurologic status, surgical indication, and number of levels stabilized. Dominant vertebral artery of all the patients was evaluated with Doppler ultrasonography. Preoperative and postoperative Nurick grade of each patient was documented.
No patients experienced neurovascular injury as a result of pedicle screw placement. Two patients had screw malposition, which did not require reoperation due to minor breaking. Most patients had 32-mm screws placed. Postoperative computed tomography scanning showed no compromise of the foramen transversarium. A total of 70 pedicle screws were placed. Good bony fusion was observed in all patients. At follow-up, 9/10 (90%) patients had improved in their Nurick grades. The cases were followed-up for an average of 35.7 months (30–37 months).
Use of the cervical pedicular fixation (CPF) provides a very strong three-column stabilization but also carries vascular injury without nerve damage. Laminectomies technique may reduce the risk of malposition due to visualization of the spinal canal. CPF can be performed in a one-stage posterior procedure. This technique yielded good fusion rate without complications and can be considered as a good alternative compared other techniques.
Cervical laminectomies; degenerative; spondylotic myelopathy; transpedicular screw
Pedicle screws are biomechanically superior over other spinal fixation devices. When improperly positioned, they lose this advantage and put adjacent structures at risk. Accurate placement is therefore critical. Postoperative computed tomography (CT) scans are the imaging gold standard and have shown malposition rates ranging from 2% to 41%. The O-arm (Medtronic Navigation, Louisville, Colorado) is an intraoperative CT scanner that may allow intervention for malpositioned screws while patients are still in the operating room. However, this has not yet been shown in clinical studies. The primary objective of this study was to assess the usefulness of the O-arm for evaluating pedicle screw position by answering the following question: What is the rate of intraoperative pedicle screw revision brought about by O-arm imaging information? A secondary question was also addressed: What is the rate of unacceptable thoracic and lumbar pedicle screw placement as assessed by intraoperative O-arm imaging?
This is a case series of consecutive patients who have undergone spine surgery for which an intraoperative 3-dimensional (3D) CT scan was used to assess pedicle screw position. The study comprised 602 pedicle screws (235 thoracic and 367 lumbar/sacral) placed in 76 patients, and intraoperative 3D (O-arm) imaging was obtained to assess screw position. Action taken at the time of surgery based on imaging information was noted. An independent review of all scans was also conducted, and all screws were graded as either optimal (no breach), acceptable (breach ≤2 mm), or unacceptable (breach >2 mm). The rate of pedicle screw revision, as detected by intraoperative 3D CT scan, was determined.
On the basis of 3D imaging information, 17 of 602 screws (2.8%) in 14 of 76 cases (18.4%) were revised at the time of surgery. On independent review of multiplanar images, 11 screws (1.8%) were found to be unacceptable, 32 (5.3%) were acceptable, and 559 (92.9%) were optimal. All unacceptable screws were revised to an optimal or acceptable position, and an additional 6 acceptable screws were revised to an optimal position. Thus, by the end of the cases, none of the 602 pedicle screws in the 76 surgical procedures was in an unacceptable position.
The new-generation intraoperative 3D imaging system (O-arm) is a useful tool that allows more accurate assessment of pedicle screw position than plain radiographs or fluoroscopy alone. It prompted intraoperative repositioning of 2.8% of pedicle screws in our series. Most importantly, it allowed identification and revision of all unacceptably placed pedicle screws without the need for reoperation.
Pedicle screw; Pedicle screw revision; Pedicle screw malposition; O-arm; Intraoperative 3-D imaging
Fusion of lumbar spine segments is a well-established therapy for many pathologies. The procedure changes the biomechanics of the spine. Initial clinical benefits may be outweighed by ensuing damage to the adjacent segments. Various surgical devices and techniques have been developed to prevent this deterioration. "Topping off" systems combine rigid fusion with a flexible pedicle screw system to prevent adjacent segment disease (ASD). To date, there is no convincing evidence that these devices provide any patient benefits.
The study is designed as a randomized, therapy-controlled trial in a clinical care setting at a university hospital. Patients presenting to the outpatient clinic with degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis will be assessed against study inclusion and exclusion criteria. After randomization, the control group will undergo conventional fusion. The intervention group will undergo fusion with a supplemental flexible pedicle screw system to protect the adjacent segment ("topping off").
Follow-up examination will take place immediately after treatment during hospital stay, after 6 weeks, and then after 6, 12, 24 and 36 months. Subsequently, ongoing assessments will be performed annually.
Outcome measurements will include quality of life and pain assessments using questionnaires (SF-36™, ODI, COMI). In addition, clinical and radiologic ASD, work-related disability, and duration of work disability will be assessed. Inpatient and 6-month mortality, surgery-related data (e.g., intraoperative complications, blood loss, length of incision, surgical duration), postoperative complications, adverse events, and serious adverse events will be documented and monitored throughout the study. Cost-effectiveness analysis will also be provided.
New hybrid systems might improve the outcome of lumbar spine fusion. To date, there is no convincing published data on effectiveness or safety of these topping off systems. High quality data is required to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of topping off devices. If only because these devices are quite expensive compared to conventional fusion implants, nonessential use should be avoided. In fact, these high costs necessitate efforts by health care providers to evaluate the effects of these implants. Randomized clinical trials are highly recommended to evaluate the benefits or harm to the patient.
Pedicle screws are being used commonly in the treatment of various spinal disorders. However, use of pedicle screws in the pediatric population is not routinely recommended because of the risk of complications. The present study was to evaluate the safety of pedicle screws placed in children aged less than 10 years with spinal deformities and to determine the accuracy and complication (early and late) of pedicle screw placement using the postoperative computed tomography (CT) scans.
Materials and Methods:
Thirty one patients (11 males and 20 females) who underwent 261 pedicle screw fixations (177 in thoracic vertebrae and 84 in lumbar vertebrae) for a variety of pediatric spinal deformities at a single institution were included in the study. The average age of patients was 7 years and 10 months. These patients underwent postoperative CT scan which was assessed by two independent observers (spine surgeons) not involved in the treatment.
Breach rate was 5.4% (14/261 screws) for all pedicles. Of the 177 screws placed in the thoracic spine, 13 (7.3%) had breached the pedicle, that is 92.7% of the screws were accurately placed within pedicles. Seven screws (4%) had breached the medial pedicle wall, 4 screws (2.3%) had breached the lateral pedicle wall and 2 screws (1.1%) had breached the superior or inferior pedicle wall respectively. Of the 84 screws placed in the lumbar spine, 83 (98.8%) screws were accurately placed within the pedicle. Only 1 screw (1.2%) was found to be laterally displaced. In addition, the breach rate was found to be 4.2% (11/261 screws) with respect to the vertebral bodies. No neurological, vascular or visceral complications were encountered.
The accuracy of pedicle screw placement in pedicles and vertebral bodies were 94.6% and 95.8% respectively and there was no complication related to screw placement noted until the last followup. These results suggest that free-hand pedicle screw fixation can be safely used in patients younger than 10 years to treat a variety of spinal disorders.
Computed tomography; pediatric spine; pedicle screws
In this prospective study, our aim was to compare the clinical outcome of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and posterolateral fusion (PLF) in spondylolisthesis. A total of 138 patients with spondylolisthesis were randomly assigned to two groups: those operated on with pedicle screw fixation and posterior lumbar interbody fusion by autografting (PLIF), and those operated on with pedicle screw fixation and posterolateral fusion by autografting (PLF). The patients were followed-up for four years. Clinical evaluation was carried out using the Oswestry disability index (ODI) and pain index (VAS). Radiography was performed preoperatively and postoperatively to assess the fusion. Both surgical procedures were effective, but the PLF group showed more complications related to hardware biomechanics. There was no significant statistical difference in clinical and functional outcome in the two groups. The PLIF group presented a better fusion rate than the PLF group.
The incidence of symptomatic adjacent segment pathology (ASP) after fusion surgery for adult low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis (IS) has been reported to be relatively low compared with other lumbar disease entities. However, there has been no study of symptomatic ASP incidence using posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) with pedicle screw instrumentation. We investigated the incidence of symptomatic ASP after PLIF with pedicle screw instrumentation for adult low-grade IS and identified significant risk factors for symptomatic ASP. We retrospectively studied records of 40 consecutive patients who underwent PLIF with pedicle screw instrumentation at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kansai Rosai Hospital, Amagasaki, Japan. The patients were followed for ≥ 4 years. Patients' medical records were retrospectively examined for evidence of symptomatic ASP. Age at time of surgery, sex, fusion level, whole lumbar lordosis, segmental lordosis, preexisting laminar inclination angle, and facet tropism at the cranial fusion segment were analyzed to identify risk factors for symptomatic ASP. Four patients (ASP group) developed symptomatic ASP at the cranial segment adjacent to the fusion. There were no significant differences in age, sex, fusion level, lumbar lordosis, segmental lordosis, or facet tropism at the cranial segment adjacent to the fusion between the ASP and the non-ASP groups. In contrast, laminar inclination angle at the cranial vertebra adjacent to the fusion was significantly higher in the ASP group than in the non-ASP group. Four patients (10%) developed symptomatic ASP after PLIF with transpedicular fixation for adult low-grade IS. Preexisting laminar horizontalization at the cranial vertebra adjacent to the fusion was a significant risk factor for symptomatic ASP.
isthmic spondylolisthesis; posterior lumbar interbody fusion; adjacent segment pathology; laminar horizontalization
Reconstruction of the highly unstable, anteriorly decompressed cervical spine poses biomechanical challenges to current stabilization strategies, including circumferential instrumented fusion, to prevent failure. To avoid secondary posterior surgery, particularly in the elderly population, while increasing primary construct rigidity of anterior-only reconstructions, the authors introduced the concept of anterior transpedicular screw (ATPS) fixation and plating. We demonstrated its morphological feasibility, its superior biomechanical pull-out characteristics compared with vertebral body screws and the accuracy of inserting ATPS using a manual fluoroscopically assisted technique. Although accuracy was high, showing non-critical breaches in the axial and sagittal plane in 78 and 96%, further research was indicated refining technique and increasing accuracy. In light of first clinical case series, the authors analyzed the impact of using an electronic conductivity device (ECD, PediGuard) on the accuracy of ATPS insertion. As there exist only experiences in thoracolumbar surgery the versatility of the ECD was also assessed for posterior cervical pedicle screw fixation (pCPS). 30 ATPS and 30 pCPS were inserted alternately into the C3–T1 vertebra of five fresh-frozen specimen. Fluoroscopic assistance was only used for the entry point selection, pedicle tract preparation was done using the ECD. Preoperative CT scans were assessed for sclerosis at the pedicle entrance or core, and vertebrae with dense pedicles were excluded. Pre- and postoperative reconstructed CT scans were analyzed for pedicle screw positions according to a previously established grading system. Statistical analysis revealed an astonishingly high accuracy for the ATPS group with no critical screw position (0%) in axial or sagittal plane. In the pCPS group, 88.9% of screws inserted showed non-critical screw position, while 11.1% showed critical pedicle perforations. The usage of an ECD for posterior and anterior pedicle screw tract preparation with the exclusion of dense cortical pedicles was shown to be a successful and clinically sound concept with high-accuracy rates for ATPS and pCPS. In concert with fluoroscopic guidance and pedicle axis views, application of an ECD and exclusion of dense cortical pedicles might increase comfort and safety with the clinical use of pCPS. In addition, we presented a reasonable laboratory setting for the clinical introduction of an ATPS-plate system.
Cervical pedicle screw fixation; Accuracy; Electronic conductivity device; Insertion technique; ATPS
The objectives of this study were (1) to quantify the benefit of computer assisted orthopaedic surgery (CAOS) pedicle screw insertion in a porcine cadaver model evaluated by dissection and computed tomography (CT); (2) to compare the effect on performance of four surgeons with no experience of CAOS, and varying experience of pedicle screw insertion; (3) to see if CT with extended windows was an acceptable method to evaluate the position of the pedicle screws in the porcine cadaver model, compared to dissection. This was a prospective, randomised, controlled and blinded porcine cadaver study. Twelve 6-month-old porcine (white skinned Landrace) lumbar spines were scanned pre-operatively by spiral CT, as required for the CAOS computer data set. Computer randomisation allocated the specimens to one of four surgeons, all new to CAOS but with different levels of experience in spinal surgery. The usual anatomical landmarks for the freehand technique were known to all four surgeons. Two pedicles at each vertebral level were randomly allocated between conventional free hand insertion and an electromagnetic image guided surgery (NAVITRAK®) and 6.5 mm cancellous AO screws inserted. Post-operatively, spiral CT was blindly evaluated by an independent radiologist and the spine fellow to assess the accuracy of pedicle screw placement, by each method. The inter- and intra-observer reliability of CT was evaluated compared to dissection. The pedicle screw placement was assessed as perfect if within the pedicle along its central axis, or acceptable (within < 2 mm from perfect), and measured in millimetres from perfect thereafter. One hundred and sixty-six of 168 pedicles in 12 porcine spines were operated on. Complete data were present for 163 pedicles (81 CAOS, 82 freehand). In the CAOS group 84% of screws were deemed acceptable or perfect, compared to 75.6% with the freehand technique. Screw misplacement was significantly reduced using CAOS (P = 0.049). Seventy-nine percent of CAOS screws were ideally placed compared with 64% with a conventional freehand technique (P = 0.05). A logistic linear regression model showed that the miss placed pedicle screw rate was significantly reduced using CAOS (P = 0.047). CAOS benefited the least experienced surgeons most (the research registrars acceptable rate increased from 70 to 90% and the spine fellow from 76 to 86%). CAOS did not have a statistically significant effect on the experienced consultant spine surgeon increasing from 70 to 79% (P = 0.39). The experienced general orthopaedic surgeon did not benefit from CAOS (P = 0.5). CT compared to dissection showed an intra-observer reliability of 99.4% and inter-observer reliability of 92.6%. The conclusions of this study were as follows: (1) an increased number of pedicle screws were ideally placed using the CAOS electromagnetic guidance system compared to the conventional freehand technique; (2) junior surgeons benefited most from CAOS; (3) we believe CAOS (Navitrak®) with porcine lumbar spines evaluated by post operative CT, represents a useful model for training junior surgeons in pedicle screw placement; (4) experienced spine surgeons, who have never used CAOS, may find CAOS less helpful than previously reported.
Pedicle screw insertion; Computer assisted orthopaedic surgery; Conventional fluoroscopic technique; Training model; Porcine cadaver lumbar spine study
Autogenous iliac crest has long served as the gold standard for anterior lumbar arthrodesis although added morbidity results from the bone graft harvest. Therefore, femoral ring allograft, or cages, have been used to decrease the morbidity of iliac crest bone harvesting. More recently, an experimental study in the animal showed that harvesting local bone from the anterior vertebral body and replacing the void by a radio-opaque β-tricalcium phosphate plug was a valid concept. However, such a concept precludes theoretically the use of posterior pedicle screw fixation. At one institution a consecutive series of 21 patients underwent single- or multiple-level circumferential lumbar fusion with anterior cages and posterior pedicle screws. All cages were filled with cancellous bone harvested from the adjacent vertebral body, and the vertebral body defect was filled with a β-tricalcium phosphate plug. The indications for surgery were failed conservative treatment of a lumbar degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to report on the surgical technique, operative feasibility, safety, benefits, and drawbacks of this technique with our primary clinical experience. An independent researcher reviewed all data that had been collected prospectively from the onset of the study. The average age of the patients was 39.9 (26–57) years. Bone grafts were successfully harvested from 28 vertebral bodies in all but one patient whose anterior procedure was aborted due to difficulty in freeing the left common iliac vein. This case was converted to a transforaminal interbody fusion (TLIF). There was no major vascular injury. Blood loss of the anterior procedure averaged 250 ml (50–350 ml). One tricalcium phosphate bone plug was broken during its insertion, and one endplate was broken because of wrong surgical technique, which did not affect the final outcome. One patient had a right lumbar plexopathy that was not related to this special technique. There was no retrograde ejaculation, infection or pseudoarthrosis. One patient experienced a deep venous thrombosis. At the last follow up (mean 28 months) all patients had a solid lumbar spine fusion. At the 6-month follow up, the pain as assessed on the visual analog scale (VAS) decreased from 6.9 to 4.5 (33% decrease), and the Oswestry disability index (ODI) reduced from 48.0 to 31.7 with a 34% reduction. However, at 2 years follow up there was a trend for increase in the ODI (35) and VAS (5). The data in this study suggest that harvesting a cylinder of autograft from the adjacent vertebral body is safe and efficient. Filling of the void defect with a β-tricalcium phosphate plug does not preclude the use of posterior pedicle screw stabilization.
Lumbar fusion; β-Tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP); Cage; Pedicle screw
Segmental pedicle screw fixation is rapidly becoming a popular method of spinal instrumentation. Few studies have investigated the rates of adjacent superior segment facet joint violation. The purpose of our study were to investigate the incidence of superior segment facet joint violation after pedicle screw instrumentation in the lumbar spine and to evaluate technical factors related to the incidence. A prospective study including 96 patients who underwent lumbar and lumbosacral fusion was conducted between March 2006 and December 2007. All patients had bilateral or unilateral posterior pedicle screw-rod instrumentation with either CD-Horizon (top-loading screw) or TSRH (side-connecting screw) implants. Pedicle screws were instrumented according to the methods advocated by Roy-Camille (Group 1, 20 cases) or Weinstein (Group 2, 76 cases). All patients had computed tomography scan at 1 week post operation. CT scans were reviewed blind by an experienced spine research fellow and a consultant radiologist to determine violation of the adjacent superior segment facet joint. Superior segment facet joint violation occurred in all of the 20 patients (100%) and all of the top-level screws (100%) in Group 1. The spinal research fellow noted the incidence of facet joint violation to be present in 23.8% of the screws and 32.9% of the patients in Group 2, whereas the consultant radiologist noted this to be the case in 25.2 and 35.5%, respectively. The incidence of facet joint violation in patients with CD-Horizon screws was far lower than patients with TSRH screws (P < 0.001). In conclusion, it seems that meticulous surgical dissection without injuring the top-level facet joints, proper instrumentation of pedicle screws with the appropriate entry site (Weinstein’s method), trajectory, and use of top-loading screw heads are some ways that surgeons could minimize the risk of top-level facet joint violation.
Pedicle screws; Facet joint violation; Lumbar spine
To compare the costs of two spinal implants—hook and hybrid constructs and pedicle screw constructs—in posterior spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) as they relate to intraoperative deformity correction.
Study design and method
This retrospective study examined 50 patients with AIS who were treated with posterior spinal fusion using segmental hook-hybrid constructs (23) or pedicle screws (27). Radiographic parameters measured on immediate preoperative and initial standing postoperative scoliosis films were the coronal Cobb angles of the upper thoracic, middle thoracic, lumbar, and instrumented curves; global coronal and sagittal balance; thoracic kyphosis; lumbar lordosis; and type and number of implants used. Current implant cost data were obtained from three major spinal implant manufacturers to determine the total cost of the constructs, cost per degree of correction, cost per level fused, and cost per degree of correction of the major curve.
After surgery, the average percentage of correction for the middle thoracic curve or major curve was 57 % in the hook-hybrid group compared to 73 % in the pedicle screw group (P < 0.001). The average amount of correction of the major curve was 31.1° in the hook-hybrid group compared to 42.7° in the pedicle screw group (P < 0.001). The average number of fused levels was 10.7 in the hook-hybrid group compared to 12.2 in the pedicle screw group (P < 0.001). The average number of implants was 14.8 in the hook-hybrid group compared to 23.3 in the pedicle screw group (P < 0.001). The average total cost of implants was $11,248 in the hook-hybrid group compared to $22,826 in the pedicle screw group (P < 0.001), and the average cost per fused level was $1,058 in the hook-hybrid group compared to $1,878 in the pedicle screw group (P < 0.001). The average cost per degree of correction of the major curve was $415 in the hook-hybrid group compared to $559 in the pedicle screw group (P = 0.0014). The global coronal balance, global sagittal balance, thoracic kyphosis, and lumbar lordosis did not differ significantly between the two groups.
Pedicle screw instrumentation was shown to be more expensive overall, per fused level, and per degree of correction. Also, more implants were used and more levels were fused in the pedicle screw group than in the hook-hybrid group. Pedicle screws showed a statistically significantly greater percentage of correction of the major curve. Physicians must evaluate each patient individually and determine if the increased percentage of correction warrants the increased cost for pedicle screw constructs.
Scoliosis; Cost; Pedicle screw; Spinal fusion; Implant
The use of thoracic pedicle screws for the treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) has gained widespread popularity. However, the placement of pedicle screws in the deformed spine poses unique challenges, and surgeons experience a learning curve. The in vivo accuracy as determined by computed tomography (CT) of placement of thoracic pedicle screws in the deformed spine as a function of surgeon experience is unknown. We undertook a retrospective review to determine the effect of surgeon experience on the accuracy of thoracic pedicle screw placement in AIS. In 2005, we started to obtain routine postoperative CT scans on patients undergoing a spinal fusion. From a database of these patients, we selected AIS patients, who underwent a posterior spinal fusion. Fifteen consecutive patients for each of the following three groups stratified by attending surgeon experience were selected (N = 45): A) less than 20 cases of all pedicle screw constructs for AIS (surgeons <2 years of practice), B) 20–50 cases (surgeons 2–5 years of practice), and C) greater than 50 cases (surgeons greater than 5 years of practice). Intraoperative evaluation of all screws included probing of the pedicle screw tract, neurophysiologic monitoring, and fluoroscopic confirmation. A total of 856 thoracic pedicle screws were studied. Postoperative CT scans were evaluated by two spine surgeons and a consensus read established as follows: (1) In: intraosseous placement or ≤2-mm breach, (2) Out: >2-mm breach, either medial or lateral. Of the 856 screws, 104 demonstrated a >2-mm breach, for an overall rate of 12.1% (medial = 55, lateral = 49, P = 0.67). When the breach rates were stratified by surgeon experience, there was a trend toward decreased rate of breach for the most experienced surgeons, although this did not attain statistical significance (Group A: 12.7%, Group B: 12.9%, Group C: 10.8%, P = 0.58). However, the most experienced group (C) had a markedly decreased rate of medial breaches (3.5 vs. 7.4% and 8.4% for groups A and B, respectively, P < 0.01). The breach rate for the concave periapical screws was not statistically different from the overall breach rate (13.0% vs. 12.1%, P = 0.93). In conclusion, the overall accuracy of placement of pedicle screws in the deformed spine was 87.9%, with no neurologic, vascular, or visceral complications. Meticulous technique allows spine surgeons with a range of surgical experience to accurately and safely place thoracic pedicle screws in the deformed spine. The most experienced surgeons demonstrated the lowest rate of medial breaches.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; Computed tomography; Surgeon experience; Thoracic pedicle screws
To compare the von Mises stresses of the internal fixation devices among different short segment pedicle screw fixation techniques to treat thoracic 12 vertebral fractures, especially the mono-segment pedicle screw fixation and intermediate unilateral pedicle screw fixation techniques.
Finite element methods were utilised to investigate the biomechanical comparison of the four posterior short segment pedicle screw fixation techniques (S4+2: traditional short-segment 4 pedicle screw fixation [SPSF]; M4+2: mono-segment pedicle screw fixation; I6+2: intermediate bilateral pedicle screw fixation; and I5+2: intermediate unilateral pedicle screw fixation).
The range of motion (ROM) in flexion, axial rotation, and lateral bending was the smallest in the I6+2 fixation model, followed by the I5+2 and S4+2 fixation models, but lateral bending was the largest in the M4+2 fixation model. The maximal stress of the upper pedicle screw is larger than the lower pedicle screw in S4+2 and M4+2. The largest maximal von Mises stress was observed in the upper pedicle screw in the S4+2 and M4+2 fixation models and in the lower pedicle screw in the I6+2 and I5+2 fixation models. The values of the largest maximal von Mises stress of the pedicle screws and rods during all states of motion were 263.1 MPa and 304.5 MPa in the S4+2 fixation model, 291.6 MPa and 340.5 MPa in the M4+2 fixation model, 182.9 MPa and 263.2 MPa in the I6+2 fixation model, and 269.3 MPa and 383.7 MPa in the I5+2 fixation model, respectively. Comparing the stress between different spinal loadings, the maximal von Mises stress of the implants were observed in flexion in all implanted models.
Additional bilateral pedicle screws at the level of the fracture to SPSF may result in a stiffer construct and less von Mises stress for pedicle screws and rods. The largest maximal von Mises stress of the pedicle screws during all states of motion were observed in the mono-segment pedicle screw fixation technique.