A method for computing general sacroiliac screw corridors based on CT scans of the pelvis

Hansrudi Noser, Florian Radetzki, Karsten Stock, Thomas Mendel
Journal of Digital Imaging: the Official Journal of the Society for Computer Applications in Radiology 2011, 24 (4): 665-71
Sacroiliac (SI) joint dislocations and sacral fractures of the pelvis can be stabilized by SI screws; however, screw insertion into a sacral isthmus region is risky for the adjacent neurovascular structures. Therefore, shape analyses of general SI screw corridors or safety zones are of great surgical interest; however, before such analyses can be conducted, a method for computing 3D models of general SI corridors from routine clinical computed tomography (CT) scans has to be developed. This work describes a method for determining general corridors in pelvic CT data for accurate screw placement into the first sacral body. The method is implemented with the computer language C++. The pelvic CT data are preprocessed before the presented algorithm computes a model of the 3D corridor volume. Additionally, the two most important parameters of the algorithm, the raster step and the virtual SI screw diameter, have been characterized. The result of the work is an algorithm for computing general SI screw corridors and its implementation. Additionally the influences of two important parameters, the raster step and the SI screw diameter, on corridor volume precision and computation time have been quantified for the test sample. We conclude that the method can be used in further corridor shape analyses with a large number of pelvic CT data sets for investigating general SI screw corridors and clinical consequences for the placements of the screws. Implementation of the presented software algorithm could also enhance performance of computer-assisted surgery in the near future.

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