Robotic-guided placement of cervical pedicle screws: feasibility and accuracy

Stanley Kisinde, Xiaobang Hu, Shea Hesselbacher, Alexander M. Satin, Isador H. Lieberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Introduction: It has been shown that pedicle screw instrumentation in the cervical spine has superior biomechanical pullout strength and stability. However, due to the complex and variable anatomy of the cervical pedicles and the risk of catastrophic complications, cervical pedicle screw placement is not widely utilized. Study design: A retrospective, consecutive patient review. Objective: To review and report our experience with robotic guided cervical pedicle screw placement. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed preoperative and postoperative CT scans of 12 consecutive patients who underwent cervical pedicle screw fixation with robotic guidance. Screw placement and deviation from the preoperative plan were assessed using the robotic system’s planning software by fusing the preoperative CT (with the planned cervical pedicle screws) to the post-op CT. This process was carried out by manually aligning the anatomical landmarks on the two CTs. Once a satisfactory fusion was achieved, the software’s measurement tool was used manually to compare the planned vs. actual screw placements in the axial, sagittal and coronal planes within the instrumented pedicle in a resolution of 0.1 mm. Medical charts were reviewed for technical issues and intra-operative complications. Results: Eighty-eight cervical pedicle screws were reviewed in 12 patients; mean age = 65 years, M:F = 2:1, and mean BMI = 27.99. No intra-operative complications related to the cervical pedicle screw placement were reported. Robotic guidance was successful in all 88 screws: eight in C2, 14 in C3, 16 in each of C4 and C5, 19 in C6, and 15 at C7. There were 14 pedicle screw breaches (15.9%); all were medial, less than 1 mm, and with no clinical consequences. In the axial plane, the screws deviated from the preoperative plan by 1.32 ± 1.17 mm and in the sagittal plane by 1.27 ± 1.00 mm. In the trajectory view, the overall deviation was 2.20 ± 1.17 mm. Although differences were observed in screw deviation from the pre-op plan between the right and left sides, they were not statistically significant (p > 0.05). Conclusion: This study indicates that robotic-guided cervical pedicle screw placement is feasible and safe. The medial breaches did not result in any clinical consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-701
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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