Feasibility and accuracy of pedicle screws in children younger than eight years of age

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2009 Dec 15;34(26):2907-11. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181b77af3.


STUDY DESIGN.: A retrospective review. OBJECTIVE.: To determine the feasibility and accuracy of pedicle screw placement in children younger than 8 years of age. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Computed tomography (CT) scanning is commonly used for assessing the breach associated with pedicle screw placement. The accuracy of pedicle screw placement as evaluated by CT has been described for adults and older children. No study has been published describing pedicle screw breach rate as evaluated by CT scanning in children younger than 8 years of age. METHODS.: A retrospective review of 16 children, with an average age of 4 years 7 months (range, 2 years 3 months to 7 years 11 months) with insertion of 88 pedicle screws was performed. These patients underwent postoperative CT scan. Breach rate was assessed using previously described criteria by Kim et al in 2005. RESULTS.: No patient experienced neurologic, vascular, or visceral complications. There were 88 screws (30 thoracic and 58 lumbar) available for CT evaluation. The overall accuracy was 93.2% with 1 medial breach and 5 lateral breaches. The median screw diameter was 4.5 mm (range, 3.5-5.5 mm) for the thoracic spine and 5.5 mm (range, 4-6 mm) for the lumbar spine. CONCLUSION.: The results suggest that pedicle screws can be safely and accurately placed in young children. The overall accuracy of acceptable pedicle screw placement was 93.2% in patients younger than 8 years of age. Screw diameters ranging from 3.5 to 5.5 mm (for the thoracic spine) and 4 to 6 mm (for the lumbar spine) can be safely used in this population.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Screws / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Internal Fixators / adverse effects
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Male
  • Postoperative Period
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Diseases / surgery*
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / surgery*