Time Demand and Radiation Dose in 3D-Fluoroscopy-based Navigation-assisted 3D-Fluoroscopy-controlled Pedicle Screw Instrumentations

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Study Design.

Prospective single-center cohort study to record additional time requirements and radiation dose in navigation-assisted O-arm-controlled pedicle screw (PS) instrumentations.


The aim of this study was to evaluate amount of extra-time and radiation dose for navigation-assisted PS instrumentations of the thoracolumbosacral spine using O-arm 3D-real-time-navigation (O3DN) compared to non-navigated spinal procedures (NNSPs) with a single C-arm and postoperative computed tomography (CT) scan for controlling PS positions.

Summary of Background Data.

3D-navigation is reported to enhance PS insertion accuracy. But time-consuming navigational steps and considerable additional radiation doses seem to limit this modern technique's attraction. A detailed analysis of additional time demand and extra-radiation dose in 3D-navigated spine surgery is not provided in literature, yet.


From February 2011 through July 2015, 306 consecutive posterior instrumentations were performed in vertebral levels T10-S1 using O3DN for PS insertion. The duration of procedure-specific navigational steps of the overall collective (I) and the last cohort of 50 consecutive O3DN-surgeries (II) was compared to the average duration of analogous surgical steps in 100 consecutive NNSP using a single C-arm. 3D-radiation dose (dose-length-product, DLP) of navigational and postinstrumentation O-arm scans in group I and II was compared to the average DLP of 100 diagnostic lumbar CT scans.


The average presurgical time from patient positioning on the operating table to skin incision was 46.2 ± 10.1 minutes (O3DN, I) and 40.6 ± 9.8 minutes (O3DN, II) versus 30.6 ± 8.3 minutes (NNSP) (P < 0.001, each). Intraoperative interruptions for scanning and data processing took 3.0 ± 0.6 minutes. DLPs averaged 865.1 ± 360.8 mGycm (O3DN, I) and 562.1 ± 352.6 mGycm (O3DN, II) compared to 575.5 ± 316.5 mGycm in diagnostic lumbar CT scans (P  < 0.001 (I), P ≈ 0.81 [II]).


After procedural experience, navigated surgeries can be performed with an additional time demand of 13.0 minutes compared to NNSP, and with a total DLP below that of a diagnostic lumbar CT scan (P ≈ 0.81).


Level of Evidence: 4

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