The comparative accuracy and safety of fluoroscopic and navigation-based techniques in cervical pedicle screw fixation: systematic review and meta-analysis

J Neurosurg Spine 35:194–201, 2021

The goal of this study was to evaluate the comparative accuracy and safety of navigation-based approaches for cervical pedicle screw (CPS) placement over fluoroscopic techniques.

METHODS A systematic search of the literature published between January 2006 and December 2019 relating to CPS instrumentation and the comparative accuracy and safety of fluoroscopic and intraoperative computer-based navigation techniques was conducted. Several databases, including the Cochrane Library, PubMed, and EMBASE, were systematically searched to identify potentially eligible studies. Data relating to CPS insertion accuracy and associated complications, in particular neurovascular complications, were extrapolated from the included studies and summarized for analysis.

RESULTS A total of 17 studies were identified from the search methodology. Eleven studies evaluated CPS placement under traditional fluoroscopic guidance and 6 studies addressed outcomes following navigation-assisted placement (3D C-arm or CT-guided placement). Overall, a total of 4278 screws were placed in 1065 patients. Misplacement rates of CPS were significantly lower (p < 0.0001) in navigation-assisted techniques (12.51% [range 2.5%–20.5%]) compared to fluoroscopy-guided techniques (18.8% [range 0%–43.5%]). Fluoroscopy-guided CPS insertion was associated with a significantly higher incidence of postoperative complications relating to neurovascular injuries (p < 0.038), with a mean incidence of 1.9% compared with 0.3% in navigation-assisted techniques.

CONCLUSIONS This systematic review supports a logical conclusion that navigation-based techniques confer a statistically significantly more accurate screw placement and resultant lower complication rates.


Neurological events due to pedicle screw malpositioning with lateral fluoroscopy–guided pedicle screw insertion

J Neurosurg Spine 33:806–811, 2020

The risk of novel postoperative neurological events due to pedicle screw malpositioning in lumbar fusion surgery is minimized by using one of the several image-guided techniques for pedicle screw insertion. These techniques for guided screw insertion range from intraoperative fluoroscopy to intraoperative navigation. A practical technique consists of anatomical identification of the screw entry point followed by lateral fluoroscopy used for guidance during insertion of the screw. This technique is available in most clinics and is less expensive than intraoperative navigation. However, the safety of lateral fluoroscopy–guided pedicle screw placement with regard to novel postoperative neurological events due to screw malposition has been addressed only rarely in the literature. In this study the authors aimed to determine the rate of novel postoperative neurological events due to intraoperative and postoperatively established screw malpositioning during lateral fluoroscopy–assisted screw insertion.

METHODS Included patients underwent lateral fluoroscopy–assisted lumbosacral screw insertion between January 2012 and August 2017. The occurrence of novel postoperative neurological events was analyzed from patient files. In case of an event, surgical reports were screened for the occurrence of intraoperative screw malposition. Furthermore, postoperative CT scans were analyzed to identify and describe possible screw malposition.

RESULTS In total, 246 patients with 1079 screws were included. Novel postoperative neurological events were present in 36 patients (14.6%). In 8 of these 36 patients (3.25% of the total study population), the neurological events could be directly attributed to screw malposition. Screw malpositioning was caused either by problematic screw insertion with immediate screw correction (4 patients) or by malpositioned screws for which the malposition was established postoperatively using CT scans (4 patients). Three patients with screw malposition underwent revision surgery without subsequent symptom relief.

CONCLUSIONS Lateral fluoroscopy–assisted lumbosacral screw placement results in low rates of novel postoperative neurological events caused by screw malposition. In the majority of patients suffering from novel postoperative neurological events, these events could not be attributed to screw malpositioning, but rather were due to postoperative neurapraxia of peripheral nerves, neuropathy, or intraoperative traction of nerve roots.

Robot-assisted intravertebral augmentation corrects local kyphosis more effectively than a conventional fluoroscopy-guided technique

J Neurosurg Spine 30:289–295, 2019

Intravertebral augmentation (IVA) is a reliable minimally invasive technique for treating Magerl type A vertebral body fractures. However, poor correction of kyphotic angulation, the risk of cement leakage, and significant exposure to radiation (for the surgeon, the operating room staff, and the patient) remain significant issues. The authors conducted a study to assess the value of robot-assisted IVA (RA-IVA) for thoracolumbar vertebral body fractures.

METHODS The authors performed a retrospective, single-center study of patients who had undergone RA-IVA or conventional fluoroscopy-guided IVA (F-IVA) for thoracolumbar vertebral body fractures. Installation and operating times, guidance accuracy, residual local kyphosis, degree of restoration of vertebral body height, incidence of cement leakage, rate of morbidity, length of hospital stay, and radiation-related data were recorded.

RESULTS Data obtained in 30 patients who underwent RA-IVA were compared with those obtained in 30 patients who underwent F-IVA during the same period (the surgical indications were identical, but the surgeons were different). The mean ± SD installation time in the RA-IVA group (24 ± 7.5 minutes) was significantly shorter (p = 0.005) than that in the F-IVA group (26 ± 8 minutes). The mean operating time for the RA-IVA group (52 ± 11 minutes) was significantly longer (p = 0.026) than that for the F-IVA group (30 ± 11 minutes). All RA-IVAs and F-IVAs were Ravi’s scale grade A (no pedicle breach). The mean degree of residual local kyphosis (4.7° ± 3.15°) and the percentage of vertebral body height restoration (63.6% ± 21.4%) were significantly better after RA-IVA than after F-IVA (8.4° ± 5.4° and 30% ± 34%, respectively). The incidence of cement leakage was significantly lower in the RA-IVA group (p < 0.05). The mean length of hospital stay after surgery was 3.2 days for both groups. No surgery-related complications occurred in either group. With RA-IVA, the mean radiation exposure was 438 ± 147 mGy × cm for the patient and 30 ± 17 mGy for the surgeon.

CONCLUSIONS RA-IVA provided better vertebral body fracture correction than the conventional F-IVA. However, RAIVA requires more time than F-IVA.


Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusions and fluoroscopy

Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusions and fluoroscopy

Neurosurg Focus 35 (2):E8, 2013

There is an increasing awareness of radiation exposure to surgeons and the lifelong implications of such exposure. One of the main criticisms of minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS TLIF) is the amount of ionizing radiation required to perform the procedure. The goal in this study was to develop a protocol that would minimize the fluoroscopy time and radiation exposure needed to perform an MIS TLIF without compromising visualization of the anatomy or efficiency of the procedure.

Methods. A retrospective review of a prospectively collected database was performed to review the development of a low-dose protocol for MIS TLIFs in which a combination of low-dose pulsed fluoroscopy and digital spot images was used. Total fluoroscopy time and radiation dose were reviewed for 50 patients who underwent single-level MIS TLIFs.

Results. Fifty patients underwent single-level MIS TLIFs, resulting in the placement of 200 pedicle screws and 57 interbody spacers. There were 28 women and 22 men with an average age of 58.3 years (range 32–78 years). The mean body mass index was 26.2 kg/m2 (range 17.1–37.6 kg/m2). Indications for surgery included spondylolisthesis (32 patients), degenerative disc disease with radiculopathy (12 patients), and recurrent disc herniation (6 patients). Operative levels included 7 at L3–4, 40 at L4–5, and 3 at L5–S1. The mean operative time was 177 minutes (range 139–241 minutes). The mean fluoroscopic time was 18.72 seconds (range 7–29 seconds). The mean radiation dose was 0.247 mGy*m2 (range 0.06046–0.84054 mGy*m2). No revision surgery was required for any of the patients in this series.

Conclusions. Altering the fluoroscopic technique to low-dose pulse images or digital spot images can dramatically decrease fluoroscopy times and radiation doses in patients undergoing MIS TLIFs, without compromising image quality, accuracy of pedicle screw placement, or efficiency of the procedure.

Flat-Panel Fluoroscopy O-arm–Guided Percutaneous Radiofrequency Cordotomy: A New Technique for the Treatment of Unilateral Cancer Pain

O-arm cordotomy

Neurosurgery 72[ONS Suppl 1]:ons27–ons34, 2013

Percutaneous radiofrequency cordotomy (PRFC) involves controlled ablation of the anterolateral quadrant of the spinal cord, thereby relieving pain. Evolving from a morbid open surgery, the procedure has been modernized through the application of physiological target confirmation, well-regulated thermal ablation, and improved intraoperative imaging.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the utility in PRFC of a new high-resolution, portable flatpanel fluoroscopic imaging technology, the O-arm Imaging System. The O-arm allows traditional 2-dimensional fluoroscopy in addition to axial and 3-dimensional reconstructed computed tomography imaging.

METHODS: PRFC was performed using the O-arm Imaging System in 6 patients with unilateral cancer pain.

RESULTS: Patients experienced 90% to 100% initial pain relief, with 50% to 100% sustained pain relief at the time of death at 2 to 12 months. There were no complications.

CONCLUSION: Portable flat-panel fluoroscopy allows high-resolution, readily updated computed tomography and fluoroscopic image guidance during PRFC. Use of this new technology may assist neurosurgeons in providing an important analgesic intervention at centers possessing the imaging technology.


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.

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.

Less Invasive Surgical Correction of Adult Degenerative Scoliosis. Part II: Complications and Clinical Outcome

Neurosurgery 67:1609–1621, 2010 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e3181f918cf

Surgical correction of adult degenerative scoliosis is a technically demanding procedure with a considerable complication rate. Extensive blood loss has been identified as a significant factor linked to unfavorable outcome.

OBJECTIVE: To report on the complication profile and clinical outcomes obtained with less invasive image-guided surgical correction of degenerative (de novo) scoliosis in a high-risk population.

METHODS: Thirty patients (age, 64-88 years) with progressive postural impairment, back pain, radiculopathy, and neurogenic claudication caused by degenerative scoliosis were treated by less invasive image-guided correction (3-8 segments) by multisegmental transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion and facet fusions. With a mean follow-up of 19.6 months, intraoperative blood loss, curve correction, fusion and complication rates, duration of hospitalization, incidence of hardware-related problems, and clinical outcome parameters were assessed using multivariate analysis.

RESULTS: Satisfactory multiplanar correction was obtained in all patients. Mean intraoperative blood loss was 771.7±231.9 mL, time to full ambulation was 0.8 ± 0.6 days, and length of stay was 8.2 ± 2.9 days. After 12 months, preoperative SF12v2 physical component summary scores (20.2 ± 2.6), visual analog scale scores (7.5 ± 0.8), and Oswestry disability index (57.2 ± 6.9) improved to 34.6 ± 3.9, 2.63 ± 0.6, and 24.8 ± 7.1, respectively. The rate of major and minor complications was 23.4% and 59.9%, respectively. Ninety percent of patients rated treatment success as excellent, good, or fair.

CONCLUSION: Less invasive image-guided correction of degenerative scoliosis in elderly patients with significant comorbidity yields a favorable complication profile. Significant improvements in spinal balance, pain, and functional scores mirrored expedited ambulation and early resumption of daily activities. Less invasive techniques appear suitable to reduce periprocedural morbidity, especially in elderly patients and individuals with significant medical risk factors.