Validity of surgeon perception of navigated pedicle screw position: A cadaveric study

Edward Rainier G. Santos, Charles G. Ledonio, Carlos A. Castro, Walter H. Truong, Jonathan N. Sembrano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


STUDY DESIGN.: Human Cadaveric Experimental Study. OBJECTIVE.: To determine the validity of surgeon perception of pedicle screw position inserted using intraoperative three-dimensional (O-arm) image-guided screw insertion. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: A surgeon's ability to detect pedicle wall violations intraoperatively is crucial for optimal pedicle screw placement. Accuracy of use of a probe or sound to assess pedicle breach is not optimal and may require experience. Intraoperative navigation has been shown to improve screw placement accuracy. It has not been shown, however, whether navigation in combination with screw tract palpation can further increase the surgeon's ability to detect a pedicle breach in pedicle screw placement in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral spine. METHODS.: Four hundred eighteen screws were inserted using three-dimensional image guidance transpedicularly from C2 to S1 in 10 fresh frozen cadavers. Screw tracts were created using navigation and then probed. After probing, the surgeon stated whether he perceived that the screw would be in, out laterally, or out medially. After screw insertion for all the levels, open dissection was then performed to determine the actual pedicle screw position. The surgeon's perception of screw position was compared to the dissection results. RESULTS.: The overall specificity, sensitivity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of the surgeon perception of pedicle screw position were 87%, 80%, 78% and 88%, respectively. Accuracy of surgeon perception of pedicle screw position was significantly less than in the cervical spine when compared with thoracic and lumbosacral spine. CONCLUSION.: Surgeon perception of a navigated pedicle screw position is accurate in the thoracic and lumbar spine. Detection of pedicle screw violations by surgeon perception in the cervical spine is less accurate and does not reliably lead to accurate screw placement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1027-E1032
Issue number15
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011


  • O-arm
  • image-guided
  • pedicle screw
  • validity


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