Technique for Validation of Intraoperative Navigation in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Operative Neurosurgery 24:451–454, 2023

Intraoperative 3-dimensional navigation is an enabling technology that has quickly become a commonplace in minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS). It provides a useful adjunct for percutaneous pedicle screw fixation. Although navigation is associated with many benefits, including improvement in overall screw accuracy, navigation errors can lead to misplaced instrumentation and potential complications or revision surgery. It is difficult to confirm navigation accuracy without a distant reference point.

OBJECTIVE: To describe a simple technique for validating navigation accuracy in the operating room during MISS.

METHODS: The operating room is set up in a standard fashion for MISS with intraoperative cross-sectional imaging available. A 16-gauge needle is placed within the bone of the spinous process before intraoperative cross-sectional imaging. The entry level is chosen such that the space between the reference array and the needle encompasses the surgical construct. Before placing each pedicle screw, accuracy is verified by placing the navigation probe over the needle.

RESULTS: This technique has identified navigation inaccuracy and led to repeat crosssectional imaging. No screws have been misplaced in the senior author’s cases since adopting this technique, and there have been no complications attributable to the technique.

CONCLUSION: Navigation inaccuracy is an inherent risk in MISS, but the described technique may mitigate this risk by providing a stable reference point.

Frameless neuronavigation‑assisted brain biopsy with electromagnetic tracking

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:3317–3322

In recent years, thanks to several technological innovations, stereotactic cerebral biopsies have evolved from frame-based to frameless neuronavigation-assisted techniques.

Methods The authors provide herein a detailed step-by-step description of the technique, shedding light on surgical tips and how to avoid complications. The practical application of the technique is demonstrated with a high-quality video.

Conclusion The neuronavigation-assisted brain biopsy with electromagnetic tracking is a “true frameless” procedure. It represents a simple, safe, and effective innovation for frameless biopsy of cerebral lesions. This technique is time efficient, offering a high degree of accuracy required for the establishment of a definitive diagnosis, enabling optimal further treatment, and thus improving patient outcome.

Intraoperative CT and cone-beam CT imaging for minimally invasive evacuation of spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:3167–3177

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for evacuation of spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) has shown promise but there remains a need for intraoperative performance assessment considering the wide range of evacuation effectiveness. In this feasibility study, we analyzed the benefit of intraoperative 3-dimensional imaging during navigated endoscopyassisted ICH evacuation by mechanical clot fragmentation and aspiration.

Methods 18 patients with superficial or deep supratentorial ICH underwent MIS for clot evacuation followed by intraoperative computerized tomography (iCT) or cone-beamCT (CBCT) imaging. Eligibility for MIS required (a) availability of intraoperative iCT or CBCT, (b) spontaneous lobar or deep ICH without vascular pathology, (c) a stable ICH volume (20–90 ml), (d) a reduced level of consciousness (GCS 5–14), and (e) a premorbid mRS ≤ 1. Demographic, clinical, and radiographic patient data were analyzed by two independent observers.

Results Nine female and 9 male patients with a median age of 76 years (42–85) presented with an ICH score of 3 (1–4), GCS of 10 (5–14) and ICH volume of 54 ± 26 ml. Clot fragmentation and aspiration was feasible in all cases and intraoperative imaging determined an overall evacuation rate of 80 ± 19% (residual hematoma volume: 13 ± 17 ml; p < 0.0001 vs. Pre-OP).Based on the intraoperative imaging results, 1/3rd of all patients underwent an immediate re-aspiration attempt. No patient experienced hemorrhagic complications or required conversion to open craniotomy. However, routine postoperative CT imaging revealed early hematoma re-expansion with an adjusted evacuation rate of 59 ± 30% (residual hematoma volume: 26 ± 37 ml; p < 0.001 vs. Pre-OP).

Conclusions Routine utilization of iCTor CBCT imaging in MIS for ICH permits direct surgical performance assessment and the chance for immediate re-aspiration, which may optimize targeting of an ideal residual hematoma volume and reduce secondary revision rates.

Image guidance and improved accuracy of external ventricular drain tip position particularly in patients with small ventricles

J Neurosurg 130:1268–1273, 2019

External ventricular drain (EVD) insertion is one of the most common emergency neurosurgical procedures. EVDs are traditionally inserted freehand (FH) in an emergency setting, but often result in suboptimal positioning. Image-guided surgery (IGS) is selectively used to assist placement. However, the accuracy and practicality of IGS use is yet to be reported. In this study, the authors set out to assess if IGS is practical and improves the accuracy of EVD placement.

METHODS Case notes and images obtained in patients who underwent frontal EVD placement were retrospectively reviewed. Ventriculomegaly was determined by the measurement of the Evans index. EVD location was classified as optimal (ipsilateral frontal horn) or suboptimal (any other location). Propensity score matching of the two groups (IGS vs FH) for the Evans index was performed. Data were analyzed for patient age, diagnosis, number of EVDs, and complications. Those without postoperative CT scans were excluded.

RESULTS A total of 607 patients with 760 EVDs placed were identified; 331 met inclusion criteria. Of these, 287 were inserted FH, and 44 were placed with IGS; 60.6% of all unmatched FH EVDs were optimal compared with 75% of the IGS group (p = 0.067). The IGS group had a significantly smaller Evans index (p < 0.0001). Propensity score matching demonstrated improved optimal position in the IGS group when compared with the matched FH group (75% vs 43.2%, OR 4.6 [1.5–14.6]; p = 0.002). Patients with an Evans index of ≥ 0.36 derived less benefit (75% in IGS vs 66% in FH, p = 0.5), and those with an Evans index < 0.36 derived more benefit (75% in IGS vs 53% in FH, p = 0.024). The overall EVD complication rate was 36% in the FH group versus 18% in the IGS group (p = 0.056). Revision rates were higher in the FH group (p = 0.035), and the operative times were similar (p = 0.69). Long intracranial EVD catheters were associated with tip malposition irrespective of the group.

CONCLUSIONS Image guidance is practical and improves the accuracy of EVD placement in patients with small ventricles; thus, it should be considered for these patients.

Resection of spinal column tumors utilizing image-guided navigation: a multicenter analysis

IG spinal tumor resection.1

Neurosurg Focus 41 (2):E15, 2016

The use of intraoperative stereotactic navigation has become more available in spine surgery. The authors undertook this study to assess the utility of intraoperative CT navigation in the localization of spinal lesions and as an intraoperative tool to guide resection in patients with spinal lesions.

Methods This was a retrospective multicenter study including 50 patients from 2 different institutions who underwent biopsy and/or resection of spinal column tumors using image-guided navigation. Of the 50 cases reviewed, 4 illustrative cases are presented. In addition, the authors provide a description of surgical technique with image guidance.

Results The patient group included 27 male patients and 23 female patients. Their average age was 61 ± 17 years (range 14–87 years). The average operative time (incision to closure) was 311 ± 188 minutes (range 62–865 minutes). The average intraoperative blood loss was 882 ± 1194 ml (range 5–7000 ml). The average length of hospitalization was 10 ± 8.9 days (range 1–36 days). The postoperative complications included 2 deaths (4.0%) and 4 radiculopathies (8%) secondary to tumor burden.

Conclusions: O-arm 3D imaging with stereotactic navigation may be used to localize lesions intraoperatively with real-time dynamic feedback of tumor resection. Stereotactic guidance may augment resection or biopsy of primary and metastatic spinal tumors. It offers reduced radiation exposure to operating room personnel and the ability to use minimally invasive approaches that limit tissue injury. In addition, acquisition of intraoperative CT scans with real-time tracking allows for precise targeting of spinal lesions with minimal dissection.

Comparative effectiveness and safety of image guidance systems in neurosurgery


J Neurosurg 123:307–313, 2015

Over the last decade, image guidance systems have been widely adopted in neurosurgery. Nonetheless, the evidence supporting the use of these systems in surgery remains limited. The aim of this study was to compare simultaneously the effectiveness and safety of various image guidance systems against that of standard surgery.

Methods In this preclinical, randomized study, 50 novice surgeons were allocated to one of the following groups: 1) no image guidance, 2) triplanar display, 3) always-on solid overlay, 4) always-on wire mesh overlay, and 5) on-demand inverse realism overlay. Each participant was asked to identify a basilar tip aneurysm in a validated model head. The primary outcomes were time to task completion (in seconds) and tool path length (in mm). The secondary outcomes were recognition of an unexpected finding (i.e., a surgical clip) and subjective depth perception using a Likert scale.

Results The time to task completion and tool path length were significantly lower when using any form of image guidance compared with no image guidance (p < 0.001 and p = 0.003, respectively). The tool path distance was also lower in groups using augmented reality compared with triplanar display (p = 0.010). Always-on solid overlay resulted in the greatest inattentional blindness (20% recognition of unexpected finding). Wire mesh and on-demand overlays mitigated, but did not negate, inattentional blindness and were comparable to triplanar display (40% recognition of unexpected finding in all groups). Wire mesh and inverse realism overlays also resulted in better subjective depth perception than always-on solid overlay (p = 0.031 and p = 0.008, respectively).

Conclusions New augmented reality platforms may improve performance in less-experienced surgeons. However, all image display modalities, including existing triplanar displays, carry a risk of inattentional blindness.

Optimal entry point for endoscopic colloid cyst resection

Endoscopic approach to colloid cysts

J Neurosurg 121:790–796, 2014

An optimal entry point and trajectory for endoscopic colloid cyst (ECC) resection helps to protect important neurovascular structures. There is a large discrepancy in the entry point and trajectory in the neuroendoscopic literature.

Methods. Trajectory views from MRI or CT scans used for cranial image guidance in 39 patients who had undergone ECC resection between July 2004 and July 2010 were retrospectively evaluated. A target point of the colloid cyst was extended out to the scalp through a trajectory carefully observed in a 3D model to ensure that important anatomical structures were not violated. The relation of the entry point to the midline and coronal sutures was established. Entry point and trajectory were correlated with the ventricular size.

Results. The optimal entry point was situated 42.3 ± 11.7 mm away from the sagittal suture, ranging from 19.1 to 66.9 mm (median 41.4 mm) and 46.9 ± 5.7 mm anterior to the coronal suture, ranging from 36.4 to 60.5 mm (median 45.9 mm). The distance from the entry point to the target on the colloid cyst varied from 56.5 to 78.0 mm, with a mean value of 67.9 ± 4.8 mm (median 68.5 mm). Approximately 90% of the optimal entry points are located 40–60 mm in front of the coronal suture, whereas their perpendicular distance from the midline ranges from 19.1 to 66.9 mm. The location of the “ideal” entry points changes laterally from the midline as the ventricles change in size.

Conclusions. The results suggest that the optimal entry for ECC excision be located at 42.3 ± 11.7 mm perpendicular to the midline, and 46.9 ± 5.7 mm anterior to the coronal suture, but also that this point differs with the size of the ventricles. Intraoperative stereotactic navigation should be considered for all ECC procedures whenever it is available. The entry point should be estimated from the patient’s own preoperative imaging studies if intraoperative neuronavigation is not available. An estimated entry point of 4 cm perpendicular to the midline and 4.5 cm anterior to the coronal suture is an acceptable alternative that can be used in patients with ventriculomegaly.

Augmented reality in the surgery of cerebral arteriovenous malformations

Augmented reality in the surgery of cerebral arteriovenous malformations

Acta Neurochir (2014) 156:1769–1774

Augmented reality technology has been used for intraoperative image guidance through the overlay of virtual images, from preoperative imaging studies, onto the realworld surgical field. Although setups based on augmented reality have been used for various neurosurgical pathologies, very few cases have been reported for the surgery of arteriovenous malformations (AVM). We present our experience with AVM surgery using a system designed for image injection of virtual images into the operating microscope’s eyepiece, and discuss why augmented reality may be less appealing in this form of surgery.

Methods N=5 patients underwent AVM resection assisted by augmented reality. Virtual three-dimensional models of patients’ heads, skulls, AVM nidi, and feeder and drainage vessels were selectively segmented and injected into the microscope’s eyepiece for intraoperative image guidance, and their usefulness was assessed in each case.

Results Although the setup helped in performing tailored craniotomies, in guiding dissection and in localizing drainage veins, it did not provide the surgeon with useful information concerning feeder arteries, due to the complexity of AVM angioarchitecture.

Conclusion The difficulty in intraoperatively conveying useful information on feeder vessels may make augmented reality a less engaging tool in this form of surgery, and might explain its underrepresentation in the literature. Integrating an AVM’s hemodynamic characteristics into the augmented rendering could make it more suited to AVM surgery.

Neuronavigation in minimally invasive spine surgery

Neuronavigation in minimally invasive spine surgery

Neurosurg Focus 35 (2):E12, 2013

Parallel advancements in image guidance technology and minimal access techniques continue to push the frontiers of minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS). While traditional intraoperative imaging remains widely used, newer platforms, such as 3D-fluoroscopy, cone-beam CT, and intraoperative CT/MRI, have enabled safer, more accurate instrumentation placement with less radiation exposure to the surgeon. The goal of this work is to provide a review of the current uses of advanced image guidance in MISS.

Methods. The authors searched PubMed for relevant articles concerning MISS, with particular attention to the use of image-guidance platforms. Pertinent studies published in English were further compiled and characterized into relevant analyses of MISS of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral regions.

Results. Fifty-two studies were included for review. These describe the use of the iso-C system for 3D navigation during C1–2 transarticular screw placement, the use of endoscopic techniques in the cervical spine, and the role of navigation guidance at the occipital-cervical junction. The authors discuss the evolving literature concerning neuronavigation during pedicle screw placement in the thoracic and lumbar spine in the setting of infection, trauma, and deformity surgery and review the use of image guidance in transsacral approaches.

Conclusions. Refinements in image-guidance technologies and minimal access techniques have converged on spinal pathology, affording patients the ability to undergo safe, accurate operations without the associated morbidities of conventional approaches. While percutaneous transpedicular screw placement is among the most common procedures to benefit from navigation, other areas of spine surgery can benefit from advances in neuronavigation and further growth in the field of image-guided MISS is anticipated.

Minimal access to deep intracranial lesions using a serial dilatation technique

Minimal access to deep intracranial lesions

Neurosurg Rev (2013) 36:321–330

Surgical access to deep intracranial lesions causing the least amount of iatrogenic trauma to the surrounding brain tissue remains a challenging task. In this article, we evaluate the use of a set of sequential tubes that dilate and provide retraction of the overlying brain tissue acting as a surgical corridor for deep-seated brain lesions resection. In addition, we conducted a comprehensive review of the literature of previously described techniques using variable brain tubular retractor systems. We discuss the adaptation of a system designed for spinal use to intracranial pathologies and evaluate the outcomes for the patients involved in the study. Moreover, the advantages and limitations of the described technique were presented.

Between August 2005 and 2011, a total of 30 patients with deep brain lesions were operated on using an incremental increase of tubing size for brain retraction guided by a frameless navigation device. Of these, seven cases were intraventricular, and 23 were intraparenchymal. Gross total resection was achieved in 70 % of cases, and the remaining had planned subtotal resections due to involvement of an eloquent area.

In conclusion, the technique of serial dilatation of the brain tissue can be used in conjunction with a microscope or endoscope to provide satisfactory access to deep intracranial pathologies. It appears to minimize the associated retraction injury to the surrounding tissue by gradually dilating the white fiber tracts. This operative approach may be considered as an effective and safe alternative for brain tumor resections in selected cases, especially deep-seated lesions.

Placement of thoracolumbar pedicle screws using O-arm-based navigation

Placement of thoracolumbar pedicle screws using O-arm-based navigation- technical note on controlling the operational accuracy of the navigation system

Neurosurg Rev (2013) 36:157–162

Suboptimal placements of pedicle screws may lead to neurological and vascular complications. Computer-assisted image guidance has been shown to improve accuracy in spinal instrumentation.Checking the accuracy of the navigation system during pedicle screw placement is fundamental.

We describe a novel technique of using continuous accuracy check of the navigation system during O-arm based neuronavigation to instrument the thoracolumbar region.

Forty thoracic and 42 lumbar screws were inserted in 12 patients. The Mirza evaluation system was used to evaluate the accuracy of the inserted screws. There was no neurological injury and no need to reposition any screw. The accuracy of the screws placement was excellent.

Our technique of continuous at will operational accuracy check of the neuronavigation system is associated with extreme accuracy of screw placement, no need to bring a patient back to the operating room to reposition a pedicle screw, and with excellent outcome.

Frameless image-guided stereotaxy with real-time visual feedback for brain biopsy

Acta Neurochir (2012) 154:1663–1667 DOI 10.1007/s00701-012-1425-y

Frame-based stereotaxy remains the “gold standard” for cerebral biopsies and functional neurosurgery though new frameless stereotactic systems are evolving continually. As the technique of frameless stereotaxy gains increasing acceptance among neurosurgeons, this study assesses the feasibility of a system for frameless imageguided stereotaxy.

Methods All patients biopsied for intracranial lesions between February 2007 and August 2010 using the BrainLAB VarioGuide frameless stereotactic system were evaluated prospectively. Prior to surgery, patients underwent magnetic resonance (MR) imaging; additionally, fluoroethyl-tyrosine (FET)-positron emission tomography (PET) images were acquired and fused to MR images in selected cases. Biopsy trajectory length, lesion volume, procedure duration, and diagnostic yield were assessed.

Results Ninety-six diagnostic biopsies in 91 patients were evaluated. Lesion volume ranged from 0.17 to 121.8 cm3; trajectory length from 25.3 to 101.9 mm. Diagnostic yield was 93.8%. Mean operation time from skin incision to wound closure was 42 min; in the operating room, it was 99 min.

Conclusions Clinical experience indicates VarioGuide to be safe and accurate. Reachable range of lesion localisation appears to be comparable to a frame-based stereotaxy system. Operation times are brief. The unique design of this frameless stereotactic system allows real-time visual feedback of needle positioning.

Optimal trajectory of endoscopic third ventriculostomy

J Neurosurg 116:1153–1157, 2012.

An optimal entry point for endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) helps protect critical structures from undue manipulation. A commonly accepted ideal entry point is 3 cm from the midline and 1 cm anterior to the coronal suture. The authors of this study reexamine this ideal entry point.

Methods. Trajectory views from MR images or CT scans used for cranial image guidance in 53 patients (age range 3–85 years) who had undergone ETV were retrospectively evaluated. The trajectory from the tuber cinereum back through the center of the foramen of Monro was projected to the surface of the head. The relation of the entry point to the midline and the coronal suture was established.

Results. The mean perpendicular distance from the ideal entry point to the midline was 30.1 ± 7 mm (median 31.9 mm, range 12.5–42.2 mm). The mean perpendicular distance to the coronal suture was 8.9 ± 14.1 mm posterior (median 10.4 mm), ranging from 30.6 mm anterior to 35.8 mm posterior. The entry point tended to be located more posteriorly in women and adults: 5.8 ± 15.4 mm posterior in males versus 13.1 ± 13.2 mm posterior in females (p = 0.08) and 9.1 ± 14.8 mm posterior in adults versus 8.2 ± 11.7 mm posterior in children (p = 0.84).

Conclusions. While the entry point may need to be modified from the ideal trajectory for other anatomical reasons, such as a trajectory through the motor cortex, in general, the authors found that the optimal entry point for ETV was more posterior than previously published and highly variable. Using image guidance or a customized trajectory based on analysis of a patient’s own imaging is highly preferable to using an empirical ideal trajectory.

Electromagnetic Image-Guided Biopsy of Cerebral Lesions

Neurosurgery 70[ONS Suppl 1]:ons29–ons33, 2012 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31822d75af

In recent years, frameless navigation techniques have been reported to be safe and effective for biopsy of cerebral lesions.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of a technique of frameless, pinless electromagnetic-guided biopsy for brain lesions with the Medtronic Stealth AxiEM.

METHODS: Prospective data were collected on consecutive brain biopsies performed by a single surgeon (P.L.G.) with this technology between October 2007 and May 2010. One trajectory was made per lesion with multiple specimens taken for analysis. Outcome measures included measures of accuracy, histological yield, and complication rate.

RESULTS: A total of 150 biopsies were performed in 149 patients (84 male and 65 female patients; age range, 19.8-83.8 years). The consultant performed 49 procedures, supervising a trainee in the others. In only 1 case (0.7%) was there nondiagnosis consequent of a registration error and inaccurate trajectory. In 4 other cases (2.7%), no specific diagnosis was established, but abnormal tissue was identified histologically, and postoperative imaging confirmed accurate targeting of these lesions. There were no instances of intracranial hemorrhage or significant morbidity and no deaths directly attributable to the procedure. Four patients (2.7%) died within 30 days of the procedure but not of complications of surgery. One patient suffered a transitory neurological deficit.

CONCLUSION: Electromagnetic navigation is proven to be a simple, safe, and effective innovation for frameless and pinless biopsy of cerebral lesions. This technique is time efficient, and elimination of frame placement enhances patient comfort and facilitates the use of local anesthetic technique.

Accuracy of Image-Guided Pedicle Screw Placement Using Intraoperative Computed Tomography- Based Navigation With Automated Referencing. Part II: Thoracolumbar Spine

Neurosurgery 69:1307–1316, 2011 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31822ba190

Image-guided spinal instrumentation may reduce complications in spinal instrumentation.

OBJECTIVE: To assess accuracy, time efficiency, and staff radiation exposure during thoracolumbar screw instrumentation guided by intraoperative computed tomography (iCT)-based neuronavigation (iCT-N).

METHODS: In 55 patients treated for idiopathic and degenerative deformities, 826 screws were inserted in the thoracic (T2–T12; n = 243) and lumbosacral (L1–S1; n = 545) spine, as well as ilium (n = 38) guided by iCT-N. Up to 17 segments were instrumented following a single automated registration sequence with the dynamic reference arc (DRA) uniformly attached to L5. Accuracy of iCT-N was assessed by calculating angular deviations between individual navigated tool trajectories and final implant positions. Final screw positions were also graded according to established classification systems. Clinical and radiological outcome was assessed at 12 to 14 months.

RESULTS: Additional intraoperative fluoroscopy was unnecessary, eliminating staff radiation exposure. Unisegmental K-wire insertion required 4.6 6 2.9 minutes. Of the thoracic pedicle screws 98.4% were assigned grades I to III according to the Heary classification, with 1.6% grade IV placement. In the lumbar spine, 94.4% of screws were completely contained (Gertzbein classification grade 0), 4.6% displayed minor pedicle breaches ,2 mm(grade 1), and 1% of lumbar screws deviated by.2 to,4 mm (grade 2). The accuracy of iCT-N progressively deteriorates with increasing distance from the DRA, but allows safe instrumentation of up to 12 segments.

CONCLUSION: iCT-N using automated referencing allows for safe, highly accurate multilevel instrumentation of the entire thoracolumbosacral spine and ilium, rendering additional intraoperative imaging dispensable. In addition, automated registration is time-efficient and significantly reduces the need for re-registration in multilevel surgery.

Accuracy of Image-Guided Pedicle Screw Placement Using Intraoperative Computed Tomography- Based Navigation With Automated Referencing, Part I: Cervicothoracic Spine

Neurosurgery 69:782–795, 2011 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318222ae16

Image-guided spinal instrumentation reduces the incidence of implant misplacement.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the accuracy of intraoperative computed tomography (iCT)-based neuronavigation (iCT-N).

METHODS: In 35 patients (age range, 18-87 years), a total of 248 pedicle screws were placed in the cervical (C1-C7) and upper and midthoracic (T1-T8) spine. An automated iCT registration sequence was used for multisegmental instrumentation, with the reference frame fixed to either a Mayfield head clamp and/or the most distal spinous process within the instrumentation. Pediculation was performed with navigated drill guides or Jamshidi cannulas. The angular deviation between navigated tool trajectory and final implant positions (evaluated on postinstrumentation iCT or postoperative CT scans) was calculated to assess the accuracy of iCT-N. Final screw positions were also graded according to established classification systems. Mean follow-up was 16.7 months.

RESULTS: Clinically significant screw misplacement or iCT-N failure mandating conversion to conventional technique did not occur. A total of 71.4% of patients self-rated their outcome as excellent or good at 12 months; 99.3% of cervical screws were compliant with Neo classification grades 0 and 1 (grade 2, 0.7%), and neurovascular injury did not occur. In addition, 97.8% of thoracic pedicle screws were assigned grades I to III of the Heary classification, with 2.2% grade IV placement. Accuracy of iCT-N progressively deteriorated with increasing distance from the spinal reference clamp but allowed safe instrumentation of up to 10 segments.

CONCLUSION: Image-guided spinal instrumentation using iCT-N with automated referencing allows safe, highly accurate multilevel instrumentation of the cervical and upper and midthoracic spine. In addition, iCT-N significantly reduces the need for reregistration in multilevel surgery.

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.

Utility of diffusion tensor-imaged (DTI) motor fiber tracking for the resection of intracranial tumors near the corticospinal tract

Acta Neurochir. DOI 10.1007/s00701-010-0817-0

Treatment of intracranial tumors near the corticospinal tract remains a surgical challenge. Several technical tools to map and monitor the motor tract have been implemented. The present study aimed to assess the utility of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) fiber tracking in the surgical treatment of motor eloquent tumors at our institution.

Methods Patients operated for intracranial tumors close to the motor tract with the use of intraoperative image guidance including DTI fiber tracking of the corticospinal tract and intraoperative motor evoked potential (MEP) monitoring were analyzed. The intraoperative utility of fiber tracking data was analyzed. Furthermore, preoperative MRI scans with and without motor fiber tracking were reevaluated post hoc for tumor relation to the motor tract, estimated resectability, and best approach. Thereby, the utility of fiber tracking in surgical planning was assessed.

Results Nineteen patients were analyzed. The estimation of tumor localization in relation to the motor tract and of resectability was not influenced by fiber tracking in any of the cases. Only in one single case did evaluating surgeons change their surgical approach after the addition of the fiber tracking data. In all cases, fiber tracking included in image guidance did not change the intraoperative strategy, while MEP monitoring did.

Conclusions DTI fiber tracking did not influence the surgical planning or the intraoperative course. However, it is still used at our institution due to its ease in acquisition and its potential impact in a larger series. Furthermore, more experience with this technique is required to lead to a technical improvement.