The accuracy of navigation and 3D image-guided placement for the placement of pedicle screws in congenital spine deformity

A. Noelle Larson, David W. Polly, Kenneth J. Guidera, Cary H. Mielke, Edward R.G. Santos, Charles Gerald T. Ledonio, Jonathan N. Sembrano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND:: Treatment of congenital spine deformity has high surgical risk due to abnormal anatomy and dysmorphic pedicles. We hypothesized that an image-guided navigation system would result in a low rate of screw revision due to malposition. METHODS:: From 2007 to 2010, 142 screws were placed in 14 consecutive patients with congenital spine deformity using an intraoperative computer tomography (CT) (O-arm) and image-guided navigation system (Stealth). Mean age was 8.8 years (range, 1 to 18 y). Deformities included scoliosis (12), kyphosis (1), and spinal dysgenesis (1). Screws were placed from T2 to S1. An intraoperative CT verified screw position. Need for intraoperative screw revision is the primary outcome measure. RESULTS:: Of the 142 screws placed, 1 required revision intraoperatively due to malposition (99.3% screw accuracy rate). The screw was at L3 and was successfully redirected. There were no complications due to screw malposition. This navigated congenital screw accuracy rate (99.3%) is higher than the 94.9% accuracy rate reported for non-navigated screws in all children undergoing pedicle screw fixation in a recent systematic literature review and higher than the reported 96.4% accuracy rate for navigated pedicle screws in children. Kosmopoulos and colleagues found a lower accuracy rate (86.6%) in adult non-navigated screws (P<0.0001) and adult navigated screws (93.7%). Of note, 9 pedicles were noted on navigation to be absent. Despite the goal of bilateral screw placement at each fusion level, 31 of 173 pedicles were left unfilled due to technical impossibility based on intraoperative CT imaging. This represents an 18% screw dropout rate. CONCLUSIONS:: CT-guided navigation resulted in the successful placement of 142 pedicle screws in patients with congenital deformity and altered anatomy, which represents a 99.3% screw accuracy rate. This is comparable with the screw accuracy rate of 93.7% reported for adult navigated pedicle screws. Further, navigation prevented attempts of screw placement at levels with absent or impassable pedicles. Image-guided navigation and intraoperative CT are valuable tools for the safe placement of pedicle screws in patients with significant congenital spine deformity and altered anatomy. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:: IV, Case Series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e23-e29
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • congenital
  • navigation
  • scoliosis
  • screw accuracy
  • screw dropout
  • spine


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