Background: Due to high rates of anatomic variability of the C2 pedicle, thin-sliced pedicular-oriented computed tomography (CT) and 3-dimensional reconstructive CT technologies have been introduced to predict safe C2 pedicle screw placement. However, this technology may not be readily available in all centers. The purpose of this study was to perform a C2 pedicle safe zone analysis using standard sagittal CT scans to predict the feasibility of C2 pedicle screw placement in a pediatric population and to compare the results with our previously obtained safe zone analysis from the adult population. Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed at a single level I trauma center of pediatric patients who completed CT scans of the cervical spine. The feasibility of C2 pedicle screw placement was analyzed using our previously described C2 pedicle safe zone analysis technique. The risk profiles were compared with our previously obtained safe zone analysis from the adult population. Results: Thirty-nine consecutive patients with a mean age of 7.8±4.4 years and 78 total pedicles were included in the study. Fourteen pedicles (18%) were considered low risk, 37 (47%) were moderate risk, and 27 (35%) were high risk for vertebral artery injury. Individual patients were found to have a significant amount of side-To-side variability between pedicles with 21 patients (54%) having left and right pedicles with different risk profiles. Four patients (10%) demonstrated low risk profiles in bilateral pedicles. There was no significant difference between the risk profiles of pediatric and adult patients. Conclusions: There is a considerable amount of anatomic variability within the pediatric C2 pedicles. Using this simple and accessible technique during the review of preoperative imaging, C2 pedicle screw placement may be considered in appropriately selected pediatric patients. Level of Evidence: Level III.
- computer tomography
- pedicle screws
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine