Percutaneous Minimally Invasive (MIS) Guide Wire-less Self-Tapping Pedicle Screw Placement in the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine: Safety and Initial Clinical Experience

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Multiple methods for minimally invasive (MIS) thoracic and lumbar pedicle screw placement exist. The guide wire is almost universally used for most insertion techniques; however, its use is not without complication and potentially prolongs surgical procedures.


To evaluate the safety of percutaneous MIS guide wire-less pedicle screw placement in the thoracic and lumbar spine at a single institution over a 3-year experience.


Forty-one patients who underwent posterior instrumentation with 110 transpedicular MIS thoracic and lumbar screws by a single surgeon from 2011 to 2014 were analyzed. The mean age was 63 years at the time of surgery. Etiological diagnoses were adult spinal deformity, trauma, spondylosis/spondylolisthesis, and other spinal diseases. Pedicle screws were inserted with the use of a guide wire-free technique in which anatomy-specific entry sites and fluoroscopic landmarks were used to guide the surgeon. A square, sharp-tipped pedicle screw was carefully advanced under biplanar fluoroscopic image (anteroposterior and lateral) down the pedicle into the body. No tapping or any type of electromonitoring was performed. An independent spine surgeon using medical records and thoracic/lumbar computed tomography taken during the postoperative period reviewed all patients.


The number of the screws inserted at each level was as follows: total, 110; thoracic, 30; and lumbar, 80. All screws were evaluated by computed tomography to assess screw position. Seven screws (6.3%) were inserted with moderate cortical perforation, including 3 screws (2.7%) that violated the medial wall. There were no neurological, vascular, or visceral complications with up to 3 years of follow-up.


The percutaneous MIS guide wire-less technique of lumbar and thoracic pedicle screw placement performed using a biplanar fluoroscopic guidance in a stepwise, consistent manner is an accurate, safe, and reproducible method of insertion to treat a variety of spinal disorders.


MIS, minimally invasive spine


TP, transverse process

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