The lateral sacral triangle—a decision support for secure transverse sacroiliac screw insertion

T Mendel, H Noser, D Wohlrab, K Stock, F Radetzki
Injury 2011, 42 (10): 1164-70
Sacroiliac (SI) screw fixation represents an effective method to stabilise pelvic injuries. However, to date neither reliable radiological landmarks nor effective anatomical classifications of the sacrum exist. This study investigates the influence of variability in sacral shape on secure transverse SI-screw positioning. Furthermore, consistent correlations of these anatomical conditions are analysed with respect to standard planar pelvic views. For shape analysis, 80 human computed tomography data sets were segmented with the software Amira 4.2 to obtain 3D reconstructions. We identified anatomical conditions (ACs) according to the extent of the effect on the bony screw pathway. Subsequently, the pelvis was spatially aligned using representative bone protuberances in order to create standard Matta projections. In each view, the ACs were described in terms of distance from bone landmarks. Three-dimensional shape analysis revealed the height of the pedicular isthmus (PH) as the limiting variable for secure screw insertion. The lateral and outlet views allowed an orthogonal projection of PH. In the lateral view, the ratio of the lateral sacral triangle framed by the S1 body height and width showed a high correlation to PH (p = 0.0001). A boundary ratio of 1.5 represented a reliable variable to determine whether or not a screw can be inserted (positive predictive value: 97%). In the outlet view, the distance between the S1 endplate and the SI joint top level (EJ) strongly correlated with PH (p = 0.0001). With EJ 0 mm, screw insertion was possible in all cases (100%). SI-screw insertion requires a well-planned procedure. Orientation of the sacral pedicle is of extreme relevance. A narrow sacroiliac channel and high sacral shape variability limit secure screw placement. However, no determining parameters exist, allowing accurate prediction of secure screw insertion based on X-rays or fluoroscopy. The lateral sacral triangle in the lateral view represents a simple and accurate preoperative method of support for the surgeon's decision to undertake this procedure. No additional technical effort is necessary. A boundary ratio of 1.5 predicts a sufficient bone stock for at least one 7.3 mm screw. Furthermore, the evaluation of the outlet projection can be used to assess the safety of the operation. Basically, a preoperative lateral pelvic image should be mandatory.

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