Radiographic anatomical relationship between spinous process and pedicle in thoracolumbar and lumbar spine

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Abstract

Pedicle screws are widely used in spinal surgeries, but it remains technically demanding to place. There are numerous studies on the anatomy of pedicle; however, there is very little insight on the relationship between the pedicle and the spinous process, which is an important part of the spinal posterior column.

The aim of the study was to investigate the radiographic anatomical relationship between spinous processes and pedicles in the thoracolumbar and lumbar spine, in order to reveal a novel entrance point for pedicle screw insertion.

Sixty candidates were enrolled in this study; cases were excluded with degenerative disorders and other disorders as osteoporosis, deformity, and tumor. Radiographs and computer tomography scans between T10 and L5 were obtained on each case. The distance was measured that between the superior margin of spinous process root and the superior border, the inferior border and the axis of pedicle. In laboratory, 5 fresh cadavers were used to imitate the pedicle screw insertion.

The basic reference point was supposed as the intersection between the horizontal line of superior margin of spinous process root and the central vertical line of the superior facet. For T10 to T12, the pedicle axis was 5 mm beyond the reference point. For L1 to L4, the pedicle axis was at the reference point. At L5, the pedicle axis was 5 mm beneath the reference point. In laboratory, 80 screws were all inserted into pedicles successfully according to the newly referred entrance point.

The study reveals the radiographic anatomical relationship between the pedicle and the spinous process. The pedicle axis is around the horizontal line of the superior margin of spinous process root. It provides a new anatomic mark of pedicle screw entrance point.

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