Accuracy of Pedicle Screw Placement for Upper and Middle Thoracic Pathologies Without Coronal Plane Spinal Deformity Using Conventional Methods

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Abstract

There is a growing interest in the implantation of pedicle screws into the middle and upper thoracic spine. However, usage of the technique is still under debate for these levels because the pedicles in these regions are small and exhibit a high degree of inter- and intraspecimen variability. Twenty-four consecutive patients treated for upper and middle thoracic pathologies by pedicle screw instrumentation under biplanar or uniplanar fluoroscopy were evaluated retrospectively. The rate of screw misplacement on postoperative computerized tomography and complications caused by misplaced screws were determined. In 24 cases, a total of 113 upper-middle thoracic pedicle screws were inserted. Fifty-one of them were inserted between T2 and T5 with guidance of biplanar fluoroscopy, and 62 were inserted between T6 and T8 with uniplanar fluoroscopy. The rate of misplacement was 20.3% for 113 screws (27.4% for T2 to T5 screws, and 14.5% for 62 T6 to T8 screws). Four screws were incorrectly inserted which could have clinical significance (3.5%), and 1 of them required revision. The difference between the upper and middle thoracic screws was not statistically significant (P=0.089). Screw insertion with laminectomy did not cause significant difference in both upper and middle thoracic regions. Only 2 complications were seen because of screw insertion. Pedicle screw insertion with guidance of fluoroscopy may be a reliable and safe method for upper and middle thoracic pathologies.

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