JOURNAL ARTICLE

Intraoperative Computed Tomography-Guided Navigation for Pediatric Spine Patients Reduced Return to Operating Room for Screw Malposition Compared With Freehand/Fluoroscopic Techniques

Fady J Baky, Todd Milbrandt, Scott Echternacht, Anthony A Stans, William J Shaughnessy, A Noelle Larson
Spine Deformity 2019, 7 (4): 577-581
31202374

PURPOSE: Placement of pedicle screws can be performed using freehand/fluoroscopic technique or intraoperative computed tomography (CT)-guided navigation. We sought to compare screw malposition and return to operating room (OR) for pedicle screw malposition for screws placed with and without CT-guided navigation.

METHODS: This study was a single-center retrospective comparative study. All patients younger than 18 years with minimum two-year follow-up who underwent pedicle screw instrumentation between 2009 and 2015 were included. Institutional review board approval was obtained and patient charts were reviewed for patient demographics and surgical outcomes. If available, incidental CTs following the index surgery were reviewed to assess screw position.

RESULTS: A total of 217 patients underwent spinal instrumentation. Overall, 112 patients had pedicle screws placed using fluoroscopic guidance, whereas 105 patients had screws placed using low-dose intraoperative CT-guided navigation (O-arm; Medtronics). Of the total cohort, 107 (49.3%) patients had adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, and the remainder had neuromuscular, tumor, congenital, or other diagnoses. Patients in each group had a similar number of levels fused (fluoroscopic = 10.9 vs. CT navigation = 9.8, p = .06). There was no difference in total estimated blood loss (1,127 vs. 1,179 mL, p = .63) or in blood loss per level fused (133.7 vs. 146.6 mL, p = .47). Patients with screws placed using fluoroscopic guidance had a shorter total operative time (441 vs. 468 minutes, p = .04); however, there was no difference when controlling for number of levels fused (58.3 vs. 61.5 minutes/level, p = .63). Postoperative CTs were available in 51 patients representing 526 imaged screws, which showed a significantly higher rate of severely malpositioned (>4 mm) screws in the fluoroscopic group than the CT navigation group (3.3% vs. 1.0%, p = .027). There was a 3.6% rate of return to OR for pedicle screw malposition in the freehand/fluoroscopic group compared with 0% in the CT-guided navigation group (p = .048). Including patients with less than two-year follow-up (169 fluoroscopy, 220 CT guidance) also found higher rates of screw malposition (13.5% vs. 7.1%, p = .004), severe screw malposition (3.0% vs. 0.50%, p = .04), and return to OR due to screw malposition (2.4% vs. 0%, p = .02) in patients with screws placed using fluoroscopic guidance.

CONCLUSION: Patients with pedicle screws placed with CT-guided navigation had a lower rate of severely malpositioned screws and unplanned returns to the OR. There was no significant difference in blood loss or operative time when controlling for number of levels fused.

SIGNIFICANCE: In the era of health care "never-events," return to OR for screw malposition could certainly be deemed unacceptable. Use of intraoperative CT-guided navigation thus far eliminated return to OR for screw malposition in a complex cohort of pediatric spinal deformity patients, without measurable increase in operative time or blood loss.

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