Techniques and accuracy of thoracolumbar pedicle screw placement

Varun Puvanesarajah, Jason A. Liauw, Sheng Fu Lo, Ioan A. Lina, Timothy F. Witham

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Pedicle screw instrumentation has been used to stabilize the thoracolumbar spine for several decades. Although pedicle screws were originally placed via a freehand technique, there has been a movement in favor of pedicle screw placement with the aid of imaging. Such assistive techniques include fluoroscopy guidance and stereotactic navigation. Imaging has the benefit of increased visualization of a pedicle's trajectory, but can result in increased morbidity associated with radiation exposure, increased time expenditure, and possible workflow interruption. Many institutions have reported high accuracies with each of these three core techniques. However, due to differing definitions of accuracy and varying radiographic analyses, it is extremely difficult to compare studies side-by-side to determine which techniques are superior. From the literature, it can be concluded that pedicles of vertebrae within the mid-thoracic spine and vertebrae that have altered morphology due to scoliosis or other deformities are the most difficult to cannulate. Thus, spine surgeons would benefit the most from using assistive technologies in these circumstances. All other pedicles in the thoracolumbar spine should theoretically be cannulated with ease via a free-hand technique, given appropriate training and experience. Despite these global recommendations, appropriate techniques must be chosen at the surgeon's discretion. Such determinations should be based on the surgeon's experience and the specific pathology that will be treated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-123
Number of pages12
JournalWorld Journal of Orthopaedics
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Computed tomography
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Lumbar vertebrae
  • Pedicle screw
  • Thoracic vertebrae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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