Accuracy and safety of pedicle screw placement in neuromuscular scoliosis with free-hand technique

Hitesh N. Modi, Seung Woo Suh, Harry Fernandez, Jae Hyuk Yang, Hae Ryong Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


It is a retrospective analytic study of 1,009 transpedicular screws (689 thoracic and 320 lumbosacral), inserted with free-hand technique in neuromuscular scoliosis using postoperative CT scan. The aim of paper was to determine the accuracy and safety of transpedicular screw placement with free-hand technique in neuromuscular scoliosis and to compare the accuracy at different levels in such population. All studies regarding accuracy and safety of pedicle screw in scoliosis represent idiopathic scoliosis using various techniques such as free-hand, navigation, image intensifier, etc., for screw insertion. Anatomies of vertebrae and pedicle are distorted in scoliosis, hence accurate and safe placement of pedicle screw is prerequisite for surgery. Between 2004 and 2006, 37 consecutive patients, average age 20 years (9-44 years), of neuromuscular scoliosis were operated with posterior pedicle screw fixation using free-hand technique. Accuracy of pedicle screws was studied on postoperative CT scan. Placement up to 2 mm medial side and 4 mm lateral side was considered within-safe zone. Of the 1,009 screws, 273 screws were displaced medially, laterally or on the anterior side showing that 73% screws (68% in thoracic and 82.5% in lumbar spine) were accurately placed within pedicle. Considering the safe zone, 93.3% (942/1009, 92.4% in thoracic and 95.3% in lumbar spine) of the screws were within the safe zone. Comparing accuracy according to severity of curve, accuracy was 75% in group 1 (curve <90°) and 69% in group 2 (curve >90°) with a safety of 94.8 and 91.2%, respectively (P = 0.35). Comparing the accuracy at different thoracic levels, it showed 67, 64 and 72% accuracy in upper, middle and lower thoracic levels with safety of 96.6, 89.2 and 93.1%, respectively, exhibiting no statistical significant difference (P = 0.17). Pedicle screw placement in neuromuscular scoliosis with free-hand technique is accurate and safe as other conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1686-1696
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Dec


  • Accuracy
  • Free-hand technique
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis
  • Pedicle screw fixation
  • Postoperative CT scan
  • Safe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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