Lateral versus prone robot-assisted percutaneous pedicle screw placement: a CT-based comparative assessment of accuracy

J Neurosurg Spine 37:112–120, 2022

Single-position lateral lumbar interbody fusion (SP-LLIF) has recently gained significant popularity due to increased operative efficiency, but it remains technically challenging. Robot-assisted percutaneous pedicle screw (RAPPS) placement can facilitate screw placement in the lateral position. The authors have reported their initial experience with SP-LLIF with RA-PPS placement in the lateral position, and they have compared this accuracy with that of RA-PPS placement in the prone position.

METHODS The authors reviewed prospectively collected data from their first 100 lateral-position RA-PPSs. The authors graded screw accuracy on CT and compared it to the accuracy of all prone-position RA-PPS procedures during the same time period. The authors analyzed the effect of several demographic and perioperative metrics, as a whole and specifically for lateral-position RA-PPS placement.

RESULTS The authors placed 99 lateral-position RA-PPSs by using the ExcelsiusGPS robotic platform in the first 18 consecutive patients who underwent SP-LLIF with postoperative CT imaging; these patients were compared with 346 prone-position RA-PPSs that were placed in the first consecutive 64 patients during the same time period. All screws were placed at L1 to S1. Overall, the lateral group had 14 breaches (14.1%) and the prone group had 25 breaches (7.2%) (p = 0.032). The lateral group had 5 breaches (5.1%) greater than 2 mm (grade C or worse), and the prone group had 4 (1.2%) (p = 0.015). The operative level had an effect on the breach rate, with breach rates (grade C or worse) of 7.1% at L3 and 2.8% at L4. Most breaches were grade B (< 2 mm) and lateral, and no breach had clinical sequelae or required revision. Within the lateral group, multivariate regression analysis demonstrated that BMI and number of levels affected accuracy, but the side that was positioned up or down did not.

CONCLUSIONS RA-PPSs can improve the feasibility of SP-LLIF. Spine surgeons should be cautious and selective with this technique owing to decreased accuracy in the lateral position, particularly in obese patients. Further studies should compare SP-LLIF techniques performed while the patient is in the prone and lateral positions.

Clinical accuracy and initial experience with augmented reality–assisted pedicle screw placement

J Neurosurg Spine 36:351–357, 2022

Augmented reality (AR) is a novel technology which, when applied to spine surgery, offers the potential for efficient, safe, and accurate placement of spinal instrumentation. The authors report the accuracy of the first 205 pedicle screws consecutively placed at their institution by using AR assistance with a unique head-mounted display (HMD) navigation system.

METHODS A retrospective review was performed of the first 28 consecutive patients who underwent AR-assisted pedicle screw placement in the thoracic, lumbar, and/or sacral spine at the authors’ institution. Clinical accuracy for each pedicle screw was graded using the Gertzbein-Robbins scale by an independent neuroradiologist working in a blinded fashion.

RESULTS Twenty-eight consecutive patients underwent thoracic, lumbar, or sacral pedicle screw placement with AR assistance. The median age at the time of surgery was 62.5 (IQR 13.8) years and the median body mass index was 31 (IQR 8.6) kg/m2. Indications for surgery included degenerative disease (n = 12, 43%); deformity correction (n = 12, 43%); tumor (n = 3, 11%); and trauma (n = 1, 4%). The majority of patients (n = 26, 93%) presented with low-back pain, 19 (68%) patients presented with radicular leg pain, and 10 (36%) patients had documented lower extremity weakness. A total of 205 screws were consecutively placed, with 112 (55%) placed in the lumbar spine, 67 (33%) in the thoracic spine, and 26 (13%) at S1. Screw placement accuracy was 98.5% for thoracic screws, 97.8% for lumbar/S1 screws, and 98.0% overall.

CONCLUSIONS AR depicted through a unique HMD is a novel and clinically accurate technology for the navigated insertion of pedicle screws. The authors describe the first 205 AR-assisted thoracic, lumbar, and sacral pedicle screws consecutively placed at their institution with an accuracy of 98.0% as determined by a Gertzbein-Robbins grade of A or B.

The accuracy of 3D fluoroscopy (XT) vs computed tomography (CT) registration in deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:1871–1878

Stereotactic registration is the most critical step ensuring accuracy in deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. 3D fluoroscopy (XT) is emerging as an alternative to CT. XT has been shown to be safe and effective for intraoperative confirmation of lead position following implantation. However, there is a lack of studies evaluating the suitability ofXT to be used for themore crucial step of registration and its capability of being merged to a preoperative MRI. This is the first study comparing accuracy, efficiency, and radiation exposure of XT- vs CT-based stereotactic registration and XT/MRI merging in deep brain stimulation.

Methods Mean absolute differences and Euclidean distance between planned (adjusted for intraoperative testing) and actual lead trajectories were calculated for accuracy of implantation. The radiation dose from each scan was recorded as the dose length product (DLP). Efficiency was measured as the time between the patient entering the operating room and the initial skin incision. A one-way ANOVA compared these parameters between patients that had either CT- or XT-based registration.

Results Forty-one patients underwent DBS surgery—25 in the CT group and 16 in the XT group. The mean absolute difference between CT and XTwas not statistically significant in the x (p = 0.331), y (p = 0.951), or z (p = 0.807) directions. The Euclidean distance between patient groups did not differ significantly (p = 0.874). The average radiation exposure with XT (220.0 ± 0.1 mGy*cm) was significantly lower than CT (1269.3 ± 112.9 mGy*cm) (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in registration time between CT (107.8 ± 23.1 min) and XT (106.0 ± 18.2 min) (p = 0.518).

Conclusion XT-based frame registration was shown to result in similar implantation accuracy and significantly less radiation exposure compared with CT. Our results surprisingly showed no significant difference in registration time, but this may be due to a learning curve effect.

Optimization of Microelectrode Recording in Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery Using Intraoperative Computed Tomography

WORLD NEUROSURGERY 103: 168-173, JULY 2017

Microelectrode recording (MER) is used to confirm targeting accuracy during deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. We describe a technique using intraoperative computed tomography (CT) extrapolation (iCTE) to predetermine and adjust the trajectory of the guide tube to improve microelectrode targeting accuracy. We hypothesized that this technique would decrease the number of MER tracks and operative time, while increasing the recorded length of the subthalamic nucleus (STN).

– METHODS: Thirty-nine patients with Parkinson’s disease who underwent STN DBS before the iCTE method were compared with 33 patients undergoing STN DBS using iCTE. Before dural opening, a guide tube was inserted and rested on dura. Intraoperative computed tomography (iCT) was performed, and a trajectory was created along the guide tube and extrapolated to the target using targeting software. If necessary, headstage adjustments were made to correct for error. The guide tube was inserted, and MER was performed. iCT was performed with the microelectrode tip at the target. Coordinates were compared with planned/ adjusted track coordinates. Radial error between the MER track and the planned/adjusted track was calculated. Cases before and after implementation of iCTE were compared to determine the impact of iCTE on operative time, number of MER tracks and recorded STN length.

– RESULTS: The use of iCTE reduced the average radial MER track error from 1.90  0.12 mm (n[54) to 0.84  0.09 mm (n[49) (P < 0.001) while reducing the operative time for bilateral lead placement from 272  9 minutes (n [ 30) to 233  10 minutes (n [ 24) (P < 0.001). The average MER tracks per hemisphere was reduced from 2.24  0.13 mm (n[66) to 1.75  0.09 mm (n[63) (P < 0.001), whereas the percentage of hemispheres requiring a single MER track for localization increased from 29% (n [ 66) to 43% (n [ 63). The average length of recorded STN increased from 4.01  0.3 mm (n [ 64) to 4.75  0.28 mm (n [ 56) (P < 0.05).

-CONCLUSION: iCTE improves microelectrode accuracy and increases the first-pass recorded length of STN, while reducing operative time. Further studies are needed to determine whether this technique leads to less morbidity and improved clinical outcomes.

 

Computed Tomography-Based Image-Guided System in Spinal Surgery

Computed Tomography-Based Image-Guided System in Spinal Surgery

Operative Neurosurgery 11:59–68, 2015

Image-guided navigation systems (IGS) grant excellent clinical and radiological results, minimizing risks correlated with spinal instrumentation. However, there is some concern regarding the real need for IGS and its indications.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the accuracy, technical aspect, and radiation exposure data of the principal IGS based on computed tomography (CT) imaging.

METHODS: The data of all patients treated for spinal instrumentation with the aid of an IGS system from January 2003 to March 2013 were retrospectively analyzed. We defined 2 groups: group I with an IGS system based on a preoperative CT scan; group II relied on an intraoperative CT scan. Screw accuracy was assessed with a postoperative CT scan control. Radiation dosage for patients was defined by using the technical parameters and dose report data. Statistical analysis was performed using the Fisher exact test with a significance of 5% (P value < .05).

RESULTS: Two thousand twenty patients and 11 144 screws were analyzed. Group I had 794 patients (4246 screws); the accuracy was 96.1%. Group II had 1226 patients (6898 screws) treated, with 98.5% accuracy (P = .001). The radiation dose analysis showed better results in group II, with significant reduction of the effective dose to the patient.

CONCLUSION: The IGS based on an intraoperative CT scan grants excellent results, eliminating the rate of reoperation for misplaced instrumentations (screws, plate, and cage) or for inadequate bone decompression. However, this technology cannot replace the surgical skills, experience, and knowledge necessary for spine surgery.

A Novel Single Twist-Drill Access Device for Multimodal Intracranial Monitoring

A Novel Single Twist-Drill Access Device

Operative Neurosurgery 10:400–411, 2014

Multimodal intracranial monitoring in the neurosurgical patient requires insertion of probes through multiple craniostomies.

OBJECTIVE: To report our 5-year experience with a novel device allowing multimodal monitoring though a single twist-drill hole.

METHODS: All devices (Hummingbird Synergy, Innerspace) were placed at the Kocher point between 2008 and 2013 at our institution. An independent clinical research nurse prospectively collected data on all bedside placements. Placement accuracy was graded on computed tomography scan as grade 1 (ipsilateral frontal horn or third ventricle), grade 2 (contralateral lateral ventricle), and grade 3 (anywhere else). Infection was monitored with serial cerebrospinal fluid samples.

RESULTS: Two hundred seventy-five devices (198 at bedside, 77 in operating room) were placed in patients with spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (49%), traumatic brain injury (47%), and others (4%) for a median duration of 6 days. A junior (postgraduate year 1-2), midlevel (postgraduate year 3-4), or senior resident (postgraduate year 5-6) placed 39%, 32%, and 29% of the devices, respectively. Ninety-two percent of all devices placed were draining cerebrospinal fluid, ie, were grade 1 (75%) or 2 (17%). Placement accuracy did not vary with level of training. Complications included hemorrhage (10%) and infection (4%), with 1 patient requiring intraparenchymal hematoma evacuation and a second requiring abscess drainage. These rates were lower than reported in the literature for standard external ventricular drains.

CONCLUSION: Hummingbird Synergy is a novel single-port access device for multimodal intracranial monitoring that can be placed safely at the bedside or in the operating room with placement accuracy and has a complication profile similar to or better than that for standard external ventricular drains.

The Silent Loss of Neuronavigation Accuracy

The_Silent_Loss_of_Neuronavigation_Accuracy___A-1

Neurosurgery 72:796–807, 2013

Neuronavigation has become an intrinsic part of preoperative surgical planning and surgical procedures. However, many surgeons have the impression that accuracy decreases during surgery.

OBJECTIVE: To quantify the decrease of neuronavigation accuracy and identify possible origins, we performed a retrospective quality-control study.

METHODS: Between April and July 2011, a neuronavigation system was used in conjunction with a specially prepared head holder in 55 consecutive patients. Two different neuronavigation systems were investigated separately. Coregistration was performed with laser-surface matching, paired-point matching using skin fiducials, anatomic landmarks, or bone screws. The initial target registration error (TRE1) was measured using the nasion as the anatomic landmark. Then, after draping and during surgery, the accuracy was checked at predefined procedural landmark steps (Mayfield measurement point and bone measurement point), and deviations were recorded.

RESULTS: After initial coregistration, the mean (SD) TRE1 was 2.9 (3.3) mm. The TRE1 was significantly dependent on patient positioning, lesion localization, type of neuroimaging, and coregistration method. The following procedures decreased neuronavigation accuracy: attachment of surgical drapes (DTRE2 = 2.7 [1.7] mm), skin retractor attachment (DTRE3 = 1.2 [1.0] mm), craniotomy (DTRE3 = 1.0 [1.4] mm), and Halo ring installation (DTRE3 = 0.5 [0.5] mm). Surgery duration was a significant factor also; the overall DTRE was 1.3 [1.5] mm after 30 minutes and increased to 4.4 [1.8] mm after 5.5 hours of surgery.

CONCLUSION: After registration, there is an ongoing loss of neuronavigation accuracy. The major factors were draping, attachment of skin retractors, and duration of surgery. Surgeons should be aware of this silent loss of accuracy when using neuronavigation.

Spinal Robotics: Current Applications and Future Perspectives

Robotics Spinal Surgery

Neurosurgery 72:A12–A18, 2013

Even though robotic technology holds great potential for performing spinal surgery and advancing neurosurgical techniques, it is of utmost importance to establish its practicality and to demonstrate better clinical outcomes compared with traditional techniques, especially in the current cost-effective era. Several systems have proved to be safe and reliable in the execution of tasks on a routine basis, are commercially available, and are used for specific indications in spine surgery. However, workflow, usability, interdisciplinary setups, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness have to be proven prospectively.

This article includes a short description of robotic structures and workflow, followed by preliminary results of a randomized prospective study comparing conventional free-hand techniques with routine spine navigation and robotic-assisted procedures. Additionally, we present cases performed with a spinal robotic device, assessing not only the accuracy of the robotic-assisted procedure but also other factors (eg, minimal invasiveness, radiation dosage, and learning curves).

Currently, the use of robotics in spinal surgery greatly enhances the application of minimally invasive procedures by increasing accuracy and reducing radiation exposure for patients and surgeons compared with standard procedures. Second-generation hardware and software upgrades of existing devices will enhance workflow and intraoperative setup. As more studies are published in this field, robot-assisted therapies will gain wider acceptance in the near future.

Clinical Assessment of Percutaneous Lumbar Pedicle Screw Placement Using the O-Arm Multidimensional Surgical Imaging System

Neurosurgery 70:990–995, 2012 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318237a829

Increasing popularity of minimally invasive surgery for lumbar fusion has led to dependence upon intraoperative fluoroscopy for pedicle screw placement, because limited muscle dissection does not expose the bony anatomy necessary for traditional, freehand techniques nor for registration steps in image-guidance techniques. This has raised concerns about cumulative radiation exposure for both surgeon and operating room staff. The recent introduction of the O-arm Multidimensional Surgical Imaging System allows for percutaneous placement of pedicle screws, but there is limited clinical experience with the technique and data examining its accuracy.

OBJECTIVE: We present the first large clinical series of percutaneous screw placement using navigation of O-arm imaging and compare the results with the fluoroscopyguided method.

METHODS: A retrospective review of a 24-month period identified patients undergoing minimally invasive lumbar interbody fusion. The O-arm was introduced in the middle of this period and was used for all subsequent patients. Accuracy of screw placement was assessed by examination of axial computed tomography or O-arm scans.

RESULTS: The fluoroscopy group included 141 screws in 42 patients, and the O-arm group included 205 screws in 52 patients. The perforation rate was 12.8% in the fluoroscopy group and 3% in the O-arm group (P < .001). Single-level O-arm procedures took a mean 200 (153-241) minutes, whereas fluoroscopy took 221 (178-302) minutes (P < .03).

CONCLUSION: Percutaneous pedicle screw placement with the O-arm Multidimensional Intraoperative Imaging System is a safe and effective technique and provided improved overall accuracy and reduced operative time compared with conventional fluoroscopic techniques.

Accuracy of Frame-Based Stereotactic Magnetic Resonance Imaging vs Frame-Based Stereotactic Head Computed Tomography Fused With Recent Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Postimplantation Deep Brain Stimulator Lead Localization

Neurosurgery 69:1299–1306, 2011 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31822b7069

Introduction of the portable intraoperative CT scanner provides for a precise and cost-effective way of fusing head CT images with high-tesla MRI for the exquisite definition of soft tissue needed for stereotactic targeting.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the accuracy of stereotactic electrode placement in patients undergoing deep brain stimulation (DBS) by comparing frame-based postimplantation intraoperative CT (iCT) images fused to a recent 3T-MRI with frame-based postimplantation intraoperative MRI (iMRI) alone.

METHODS: Frame-based DBS surgeries of 46 targets performed from February 8, 2007 to April 28, 2008 in 26 patients with the use of immediate postimplantation iMRI for target localization were compared with frame-based immediate postimplantation iCT fused with a recent 3T brain MRI for DBS localization of 50 targets performed from August 13, 2008 to February 18, 2010 in 26 patients. Pre- and postoperative mid anterior commissure-posterior commissure line coordinates and XYZ coordinates for preoperatively calculated DBS targets (intended target) and for the permanent DBS lead tips were determined. The differences between preoperative DBS target and postoperative permanent DBS lead-tip coordinates based on postimplantation intraoperative MRI for the MRI-alone group and based on postimplantation intraoperative CT fused to recent preoperative MRI in the CTMRI group were measured. The t test and Yuen test were used for comparison.

RESULTS: No statistically significant differences were found between the 2 groups when comparing the pre- and postperative changes in mid anterior commissure-posterior commissure line coordinates and XYZ coordinates.

CONCLUSION: Postimplantation DBS lead localization and therefore targeting accuracy was not significantly different between frame-based stereotactic 1.5T-MRI and framebased stereotactic head CT fused with recent 3T-MRI.

Bilateral subthalamic deep brain stimulation using single track microelectrode recording

Acta Neurochir (2011) 153:1087–1095 DOI 10.1007/s00701-011-0953-1

Microelectrode recording (MER) is widely used during deep brain stimulation (DBS) procedures because MER can identify structural borders and eloquent structures, localize somatotopic arrangements, and provide an outline of the three-dimensional shapes of target nuclei. However, MER may cause intracranial hemorrhage. We performed single track MER during DBS procedures, analyzed the accuracy of electrode positioning with MRI, and compared the amount of air and the potential risk of intracranial hemorrhage.

Method A total of 46 electrodes were placed in 23 patients who suffered from advanced Parkinson’s disease and who underwent bilateral subthalamic nucleus DBS using single track MER. Each patient’s Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) score and levo-dopa equivalent dosage (LED) were estimated pre- and postoperatively. The accuracy of electrode positioning and fontal air thickness was measured by a pre- or postoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) merging technique.

Findings The mean electrode positioning error was 0.92 mm (0.3–2.94 mm). The mean frontal air thickness on postoperative MRI was 3.85 mm (0–10.3 mm), which did not affect the electrode accuracy statistically (p=0.730). A total of nine electrodes required repositioning after single-track MER because they affected microstimulation or because an abnormally short STN length was observed during MER. In this series, one patient suffered from an intracranial hemorrhage after surgery that appeared to be due to venous infarction rather than related to MER.

Conclusions Although MER can facilitate accurate positioning of electrodes, multi-track MER may increase the risk of intracranial hemorrhage. The accuracy of electrode positioning appears to be acceptable under single track MER during STN DBS with careful electrophysiological and neurological monitoring. The risk of intracranial hemorrhage appears to be minimal, especially in elderly patients with atrophic brains.

Minimally invasive percutaneous transpedicular screw fixation: increased accuracy and reduced radiation exposure by means of a novel electromagnetic navigation system

Acta Neurochir (2011) 153:589–596. DOI 10.1007/s00701-010-0882-4

Minimally invasive percutaneous pedicle screw instrumentation methods may increase the need for intraoperative fluoroscopy, resulting in excessive radiation exposure for the patient, surgeon, and support staff. Electromagnetic field (EMF)-based navigation may aid more accurate placement of percutaneous pedicle screws while reducing fluoroscopic exposure. We compared the accuracy, time of insertion, and radiation exposure of EMF with traditional fluoroscopic percutaneous pedicle screw placement.

Methods Minimally invasive pedicle screw placement in T8 to S1 pedicles of eight fresh-frozen human cadaveric torsos was guided with EMF or standard fluoroscopy. Setup, insertion, and fluoroscopic times and radiation exposure and accuracy (measured with post-procedural computed tomography) were analyzed in each group.

Results Sixty-two pedicle screws were placed under fluoroscopic guidance and 60 under EMF guidance. Ideal trajectories were achieved more frequently with EMF over all segments (62.7% vs. 40%; p=0.01). Greatest EMF accuracy was achieved in the lumbar spine, with significant improvements in both ideal trajectory and reduction of pedicle breaches over fluoroscopically guided placement (64.9% vs. 40%, p=0.03, and 16.2% vs. 42.5%, p=0.01, respectively). Fluoroscopy time was reduced 77% with the use of EMF (22 s vs. 5 s per level; p<0.0001) over all spinal segments. Radiation exposure at the hand and body was reduced 60% (p=0.058) and 32% (p=0.073), respectively. Time for insertion did not vary between the two techniques.

Conclusions Minimally invasive pedicle screw placement with the aid of EMF image guidance reduces fluoroscopy time and increases placement accuracy when compared with traditional fluoroscopic guidance while adding no additional time to the procedure.

Accuracy of Free-Hand Pedicle Screws in the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine: Analysis of 6816 Consecutive Screws

Neurosurgery 68:170–178, 2011 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e3181fdfaf4

Pedicle screws are used to stabilize all 3 columns of the spine, but can be technically demanding to place. Although intraoperative fluoroscopy and stereotactic- guided techniques slightly increase placement accuracy, they are also associated with increased radiation exposure to patient and surgeon as well as increased operative time.

OBJECTIVE: To describe and critically evaluate our 7-year institutional experience with placement of pedicle screws in the thoracic and lumbar spine using a free-hand technique.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed records of all patients undergoing free-hand pedicle screw placement without fluoroscopy in the thoracic or lumbar spine between June 2002 and June 2009. Incidence and extent of cortical breach by misplaced pedicle screw was determined by review of postoperative computed tomography scans. We defined breach as more than 25% of the screw diameter residing outside of the pedicle or vertebral body cortex.

RESULTS: A total of 964 patients received 6816 free-hand placed pedicle screws in the thoracic or lumbar spine. Indications for hardware placement were degenerative/deformity disease (51.2%), spondylolisthesis (23.7%), tumor (22.7%), trauma (11.3%), infection (7.6%), and congenital (0.9%). A total of 115 screws (1.7%) were identified as breaching the pedicle in 87 patients (9.0%). Breach occurred more frequently in the thoracic than the lumbar spine (2.5% and 0.9%, respectively; P , .0001) and was more often lateral (61.3%) than medial (32.8%) or superior (2.5%). T4 (4.1%) and T6 (4.0%) experienced the highest breach rate, whereas L5 and S1 had the lowest breach rate. Eight patients (0.8%) underwent revision surgery to correct malpositioned screws.

CONCLUSION: Free-hand pedicle screw placement based on external anatomy alone can be performed with acceptable safety and accuracy and allows avoidance of radiation exposure encountered in fluoroscopic techniques. Image-guided assistance may be most valuable when placing screws between T4 and T6, where breach rates are highest