Study Design. Retrospective study comparing cranial facet joint violation rates of open and percutaneous pedicle screws inserted using 3-dimensional image-guidance.
Objective. To determine the rate of cranial facet joint violation in intraoperative computed tomography (CT) image-guided lumbar pedicle screw instrumentation and compare facet joint violation rates between CT image-guided open and percutaneous techniques.
Summary of Background Data. Facet joint violation by pedicle screws can potentially result in a higher rate of adjacent segment degeneration. Reported cranial facet joint violation rates range from 7% to 100%. Intraoperative image-guidance, which has enhanced pedicle screw placement accuracy, may aid in avoiding impingement of the cranial facet joints.
Methods. We reviewed 188 cases of 3-dimensional image-guided lumbar pedicle screw instrumentation from November 2006 to December 2011. The cranial screws of each construct were graded by 3 reviewers according to the Seo classification (0 = no impingement; 1 = screw head in contact/suspected to be in contact with joint; 2 = screw clearly invaded the joint) on intraoperative axial CT images. If there was a difference in evaluation, a consensus was reached to arrive at a single grade. The χ2 test was used to determine significance between the open and percutaneous group (α = 0.05).
Results. A total of 370 screws (245 open, 125 percutaneous) were graded. Overall facet joint violation rate was 18.9% (grade 1 = 16.2%, grade 2 = 2.7%). Open technique (grade 1 = 22.4%, grade 2 = 4.1%) had a significantly higher violation rate than percutaneous technique (grade 1 = 4%, grade 2 = 0%) (P < 0.0001). There is a trend of an increasing likelihood of facet joint violation from L1 to L5.
Conclusion. The use of intraoperative CT image-guidance in lumbar pedicle screw placement resulted in a facet joint violation rate at the lower end of the reported range in literature. The percutaneous technique has a significantly lower facet violation rate than the open technique.
Level of Evidence: 4