Object. Utilization of pedicle screws (PS) for spine stabilization is common in spinal surgery. With reliance on visual inspection of anatomical landmarks prior to screw placement, the free-hand technique requires a high level of surgeon skill and precision. Three-dimensional (3D) computer-assisted virtual neuronavigation improves the precision of PS placement and minimize steps. Methods. Twenty-three patients with degenerative, traumatic, or neoplastic pathologies received treatment via a novel three-step PS technique that utilizes a navigated power driver in combination with virtual screw technology. 1) Following visualization of neuroanatomy using intraoperative CT, a navigated 3-mm match stick drill bit was inserted at anatomical entry point with screen projection showing virtual screw. 2) Navigated Stryker Cordless Driver with appropriate tap was used to access vertebral body through pedicle with screen projection again showing virtual screw. 3) Navigated Stryker Cordless Driver with actual screw was used with screen projection showing the same virtual screw. One hundred and forty-four consecutive screws were inserted using this three-step, navigated driver, virtual screw technique. Results. Only 1 screw needed intraoperative revision after insertion using the three-step, navigated driver, virtual PS technique. This amounts to a 0.69% revision rate. One hundred percent of patients had intraoperative CT reconstructed images to confirm hardware placement. Conclusions. Pedicle screw placement utilizing the Stryker-Ziehm neuronavigation virtual screw technology with a three step, navigated power drill technique is safe and effective.
Objective Cervical spine can be stabilized by different techniques. One of the common techniques used is the lateral mass screws (LMSs), which can be inserted either by freehand techniques or three-dimensional (3D) navigation system. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the difference between the 3D navigation system and the freehand technique for cervical spine LMS placement in terms of complications. Including intraoperative complications (vertebral artery injury [VAI], nerve root injury [NRI], spinal cord injury [SCI], lateral mass fracture [LMF]) and postoperative complications (screw malposition, screw complications).
Methods Patients who had LMS fixation for their subaxial cervical spine from January 2014 to April 2015 at the Ottawa Hospital were included. A total of 284 subaxial cervical LMS were inserted in 40 consecutive patients. Surgical indications were cervical myelopathy and fractures. The screws’ size was 3.5 mm in diameter and 8 to 16 mm in length. During the insertion of the subaxial cervical LMS, the 3D navigation system was used for 20 patients, and the freehand technique was used for the remaining 20 patients. We reviewed the charts, X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and follow-up notes for all the patients pre- and postoperatively.
Results Postoperative assessment showed that the incidence of VAI, SCI, and NRI were the same between the two groups. The CT scan analysis showed that the screw breakage, screw pull-outs, and screw loosening were the same between the two groups. LMF was less in the 3D navigation group but statistically insignificant. Screw malposition was less in the 3D navigation group compared with the freehand group and was statistically significant. The hospital stay, operative time, and blood loss were statistically insignificant between the two groups.
Conclusions The use of CT-based navigation in LMS insertion decreased the rate of screw malpositions as compared with the freehand technique. Further investigations and trials will determine the effect of malpositions on the c-spine biomechanics. The use of navigation in LMS insertion did not show a significant difference in VAI, LMF, SCI, or NRI as compared with the freehand technique.
The X-ray-based reconstruction methods using anterior-posterior (AP) and lateral (LAT) images assumes that the angle between the AP and LAT images is perpendicular. However, it is difficult to maintain the perfect perpendicular angle between the AP and LAT images when taking those two images sequentially in real situations. In this study, the robustness of a three-dimensional (3D) whole spine reconstruction method using AP and LAT planar X-ray images was analyzed by investigating cases in which the AP and LAT images were not taken perpendicularly. 3D models of the patient-specific spine from five subjects were reconstructed using AP and LAT X-Ray images and the 3D template models of C1 to L5 vertebrae based on B-spline free-form deformation (FFD) technology. The shape error, projected area error, and relative error in length were quantified by comparing the reconstructed model (FFD model) to the reference model (CT model). The results indicated that the reconstruction method might be considered robust in case that there is a small angular error, such as 5°, between the AP and LAT images. This study suggested that simple technical indications to obtain the perpendicular AP and LAT images in real situations can improve accuracy of 3D spine reconstruction.
A method for x-ray image-guided robotic instrument positioning is reported and evaluated in preclinical studies of spinal pedicle screw placement with the aim of improving delivery of transpedicle K-wires and screws. The known-component (KC) registration algorithm was used to register the three-dimensional patient CT and drill guide surface model to intraoperative two-dimensional radiographs. Resulting transformations, combined with offline hand–eye calibration, drive the robotically held drill guide to target trajectories defined in the preoperative CT. The method was assessed in comparison with a more conventional tracker-based approach, and robustness to clinically realistic errors was tested in phantom and cadaver. Deviations from planned trajectories were analyzed in terms of target registration error (TRE) at the tooltip (mm) and approach angle (deg). In phantom studies, the KC approach resulted in TRE = 1.51 ± 0.51 mm and 1.01 deg ± 0.92 deg, comparable with accuracy in tracker-based approach. In cadaver studies with realistic anatomical deformation, the KC approach yielded TRE = 2.31 ± 1.05 mm and 0.66 deg ± 0.62 deg, with statistically significant improvement versus tracker (TRE = 6.09 ± 1.22 mm and 1.06 deg ± 0.90 deg). Robustness to deformation is attributed to relatively local rigidity of anatomy in radiographic views. X-ray guidance offered accurate robotic positioning and could fit naturally within clinical workflow of fluoroscopically guided procedures.