CT accuracy of percutaneous versus open pedicle screw techniques: a series of 1609 screws.
INTRODUCTION: Traditional open exposure for posterior instrumentation requires significant soft tissue mobilization and causes significant blood loss and increased recovery time. Mal-placed screws can injure nerve roots, the spinal cord, viscera, vasculature and the cardiopulmonary system. Placement of pedicle screws using a minimally invasive technique can decrease bleeding risk, damage to soft tissues, and post-operative pain. The purpose of this study is to compare the radiographic accuracy of open free-hand versus percutaneous technique for pedicle screw placement. METHODS: Consecutive patients undergoing thoracolumbar surgery from September 2006 to October 2011 with post-operative CT imaging were included in this study. Three-dimensional screw positioning within the pedicle and the vertebral body was assessed on CT. The magnitude and location of violations were measured and recorded. Facet breaches at the cephalad and caudad ends of the construct were documented and graded. RESULTS: Two-hundred and twenty-three patients met the inclusion criteria for a total of 1609 pedicle screws. Seven-hundred and twenty-four screws were placed using a standard open free-hand technique and 885 were placed percutaneously. There was a significant difference in overall pedicle breach rates: 7.5 % for open and 4.7 % for percutaneous techniques. The magnitude of breach was greater for the percutaneous technique compared to the open technique: 5.4 versus 3.7 mm, respectively. The difference in vertebral body breaches was also significant: 11.3 % for open and 3.6 % for percutaneous. The rates of facet breach did not significantly differ. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: This is the largest series comparing the accuracy of percutaneous to open pedicle screw placement. The rates of pedicle, vertebral body, and facets breaches in the percutaneous group were similar to the rates in the open technique group as well as rates reported in the literature. This demonstrates that the percutaneous technique described here is an accurate alternative to standard open free-hand technique.
Chapman, TM; Blizzard, DJ; Brown, CR
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)