Minimally invasive, stereotactic, wireless, percutaneous pedicle screw placement in the lumbar spine: Accuracy rates with 182 consecutive screws

Saeed S. Sadrameli, Ryan Jafrani, Blake N. Staub, Majdi Radaideh, Paul J. Holman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Standard fluoroscopic navigation and stereotactic computed tomography-guided lumbar pedicle screw instrumentation traditionally relied on the placement of Kirshner wires (K-wires) to ensure accurate screw placement. The use of K-wires, however, is associated with a risk of morbidity due to potential ventral displacement into the retroperitoneum. We report our experience using a computer image-guided, wireless method for pedicle screw placement. We hypothesize that minimally invasive, wireless pedicle screw placement is as accurate and safe as the traditional technique using K-wires while decreasing operative time and avoiding potential complications associated with K-wires. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of 42 consecutive patients who underwent a stereotactic-guided, wireless lumbar pedicle screw placement. All screws were placed to provide fixation to a variety of interbody fusion constructs including anterior lumbar interbody fusion, lateral interbody fusion, and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion. The procedures were performed using the O-arm intraoperative imaging system with StealthStation navigation (Medtronic, Memphis, TN) and Medtronic navigated instrumentation. After placing a percutaneous navigation frame into the posterior superior iliac spine or onto an adjacent spinous process, an intraoperative O-arm image was obtained to allow subsequent StealthStation navigation. Para-median incisions were selected to allow precise percutaneous access to the target pedicles. The pedicles were cannulated using either a stereotactic drill or a novel awl-tipped tap along with a low-speed/high-torque power driver. The initial trajectory into the pedicle was recorded on the Medtronic StealthStation prior to removal of the drill or awl-tap, creating a ''virtual'' K-wire rather than inserting an actual K-wire to allow subsequent tapping and screw insertion. Accurate screw placement is achieved by following the virtual path as an exact computer-aided design model of the screw traversing the pedicle is projected onto the display and by using audible and tactile feedback. A second O-arm scan was obtained to confirm accuracy of screw placement. Results: A total of 20 women and 22 men (average age ¼ 56 years) underwent a total of 182 pedicle screw placements using the stereotactic, wireless technique. The total breach rate was 9.9%, with a clinically significant breach rate of 0% (defined as .2 mm medial breach or .4 mm lateral breach) and a clinical complication rate of 0%. Conclusions: Wireless, percutaneous placement of lumbar pedicle screws using computed tomography-guided stereotactic navigation is a safe, reproducible technique with very high accuracy rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)650-658
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Spine Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • K-wireless
  • MIS spinal fusion
  • Neuro-navigation
  • Percutaneous pedicle placement accuracy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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