Sacroiliac joint fusion navigation: how accurate is pin placement?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Sacroiliac joint (SIJ) fusion utilizing intraoperative navigation requires a standard reference frame, which is often placed using a percutaneous pin. Proper placement ensures the correct positioning of SIJ fusion implants. There is currently no grading scheme for evaluation of pin placement into the pelvis. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of ideal percutaneous pin placement into the posterior ilium during navigated SIJ fusion. METHODS: After IRB approval was obtained, electronic medical records and intraoperative computed tomography images of patients who underwent navigated SIJ fusion by the senior author between October 2013 and January 2020 were reviewed. A pin placement grading scheme and the definition of "ideal" placement were developed by the authors and deemed acceptable by fellow attending surgeons. Six attending surgeons completed two rounds of pin placement grading, and statistical analysis was conducted. RESULTS: Of 90 eligible patients, 73.3% had ideal pin placement, 17.8% medial/lateral breach, and 8.9% complete miss. Male patients were 3.7 times more likely to have ideal placement than females (p < 0.05). There was no relationship between BMI, SIJ fusion laterality, or pin placement laterality and ideal placement. Interobserver reliability was 0.72 and 0.70 in the first and second rounds, respectively, and defined as "substantial agreement." Intraobserver reliability ranged from 0.74 (substantial agreement) to 0.92 (almost perfect agreement). CONCLUSIONS: Nonideal pin placement occurred in 26.7% of cases, but a true "miss" into the sacrum was rare. Ideal pin placement was more likely in males and was not associated with BMI, SIJ fusion laterality, or pin placement laterality. The grading scheme developed has high intraobserver and interobserver reliability, indicating that it is reproducible and can be used for future studies. When placing percutaneous pins, surgeons must be aware of factors that can decrease placement accuracy, regardless of location.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E9
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • fusion
  • navigation
  • percutaneous pin
  • reference frame
  • sacroiliac joint

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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