Pedicle screw insertion : robotic assistance versus conventional C-arm fluoroscopy

Published online: Apr 27 2012

Constantin SCHIZAS, Eric THEIN, Barbara KWIATKOWSKI, Gerit KULIK

From the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and the University of Lausanne, Switzerland


Bone-mounted robotic guidance for pedicle screw placement has been recently introduced, aiming at increasing accuracy. The aim of this prospective study was to compare this novel approach with the conventional fluoroscopy assisted freehand technique (not the two- or threedimensional fluoroscopy-based navigation). Two groups were compared : 11 patients, constituting the robotical group, were instrumented with 64 pedicle screws ; 23 other patients, constituting the fluoroscopic group, were also instrumented with 64 pedicle screws. Screw position was assessed by two independent observers on postoperative CT-scans using the Rampersaud A to D classification. No neurological complications were noted. Grade A (totally within pedicle margins) accounted for 79% of the screws in the robotically assisted and for 83% of the screws in the fluoroscopic group respectively (p = 0.8). Grade C and D screws, considered as misplacements, accounted for 4.7% of all robotically inserted screws and 7.8% of the fluoroscopically inserted screws (p = 0.71). The current study did not allow to state that robotically assisted screw placement supersedes the conventional fluoroscopy assisted technique, although the literature is more optimistic about the former.