S2 Alar-Iliac Screw Insertion: Technical Note with Pictorial Guide

Emre Yilmaz, Amir Abdul-Jabbar, Tamir Tawfik, Joe Iwanaga, Cameron K Schmidt, Jens Chapman, Ronen Blecher, R Shane Tubbs, Rod J Oskouian
World Neurosurgery 2018, 113: e296-e301

BACKGROUND: The S2 alar-iliac (S2AI) screw is a modification of the iliac fixation technique using the space between the neuroforamina of S1 and S2 as an insertion point to fix the sacrum to the ilium. To our knowledge, an anatomic review of the S2AI technique has not been described and the insertion point is vague and angles differ in reports from the literature. The purpose of the current anatomic illustration is to provide step-by-step techniques with fluoroscopic imaging to help confirm the safe placement of S2AI screws.

METHODS: The procedure was performed on the left and rights sides of a fresh, frozen, and thawed predissected male cadaver in a surgical training facility through a standard posterior midline exposure for placement of the S2AI screws. All screws were placed by a fellowship-trained spine surgeon and an attending spine surgeon.

RESULTS: The specimen was placed prone, and a midline incision begun at the L4 or L5 spinous process. Using the anteroposterior and inlet views, the S1 dorsal sacral foramen, the S1 endplate, and the sacroiliac joint can be identified. The insertion point is 10 mm laterally between the S1 and S2 foramina and near to the sacroiliac joint. Aim toward the anterior inferior iliac spine is ensured by using a 30°-40° lateral angulation in the transverse plane and 20°-30° caudal angulation in the sagittal plane depending on the sacral angulation. Using lateral fluoroscopy, the acetabulum and greater sciatic notch can be identified and screw misplacement can be avoided. The screw length is measured and is usually between 60 and 90 mm (8- to 9-mm diameter). An elevator is used to identify the outer sacral cortex. Anteroposterior, obturator-outlet, and teardrop views are used to ensure correct screw insertion.

CONCLUSIONS: Fluoroscopic guidance is crucial for optimal S2AI screw placement. Using the described technique allows a safe and correct insertion of the S2AI screw.

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