Over the last decade, the use of pedicle screw based spinal instrumentation in the lumbar and thoracic spine has increased tremendously thanks to their superior biomechanical properties and reduction possibilities. Nevertheless, despite the perception that cervical pedicle fixation can provide superior holding strength, it has not been routinely implemented due to large anatomical variation of cervical pedicles between individuals. Moreover, the small bone size of the pedicles and the proximity to the vertebral artery and the spinal cord increase the need for very precise screw placement. Several methods have been explored so far, most prominently computer-assisted screw insertion. Now a research team has looked into using the Mimics Innovation Suite to create a patient-specific and safe solution!
Designing a Patient-Specific Template based on a model created with the Mimics Innovation Suite
Verifying the Template Pre-Operatively using 3D Printed Models
Putting the Templates to Use During Surgery
Confirming the Success of the Technique
- Firstly, the surgeon can decide on the location, orientation, and size of each screw based on the unique morphology of the patient.
- Secondly, this technique is relatively simple to use, so it does not require specific additional expertise on the surgeon’s part.
- Thirdly, it has the potential to eliminate the need for complex equipment and time-consuming procedures in the operating theatre, which can result in a reduction in operating time.
- Fourthly, screws can be accurately placed while reducing the risk of spinal canal or blood vessel perforation.
- Finally, the need for fluoroscopy during screw insertion may be eliminated, which considerably reduces the radiation exposure to the patient and the members of the surgical team.
With its wide applicability, high accuracy, proven safety, and cost-effectiveness, this design will likely enjoy widespread use in the future… and become the backbone of cervical pedicle screw placement.