To evaluate the anatomical parameters that must be considered when performing thoracic transpedicular or extrapedicular screw fixation.
We selected 958 vertebrae (1,916 pedicles) from 98 patients for analysis. Eight parameters were measured from CT scans : the transverse outer pedicular diameter, transverse inner pedicular diameter, length, angle, chord length of the pedicles and the transverse width, angle, and chord length of the pedicle-rib units.
The age of the patients ranged from 21 to 82 years (mean : 48.2 years) and there were 57 men and 41 women. The narrowest transverse outer pedicular diameter was at T5 (4.4 mm). The narrowest pedicle length was at T1 (15.9 mm). For pedicle angle, T1 was 31.6 degrees, which was the most convergent angle, and it showed the tendency of the lower the level, the lesser the convergent angle. The chord length showed a horizontal pattern with similar values at all levels. For the PRU width, T5 showed a similar pattern to the pedicle width at 13.4 mm. For the PRU angle, T1 was the largest angle at 46.2 degrees and the tendency was the lower the level, the narrower the angle. For chord length, T1 was the shortest at 46.9 mm and T8 was the longest at 60.1 mm.
When transpedicular screw fixations carried out at the mid-thoracic level, special care must be taken because there is a high chance of danger of medial wall violation. In these circumstances, extrapedicular screw fixation may be considered as an alternative treatment.