Power-assisted pedicle screws placement: Is it as safe and as effective as manual technique? Narrative review of the literature and our technique

Musculoskelet Surg. 2021 Aug;105(2):117-123. doi: 10.1007/s12306-021-00714-x. Epub 2021 May 29.


Pedicle screws are the gold standard in spine surgery, allowing a solid tricolumnar fixation which is unmatched by hooks and wires. The freehand technique is the most widely adopted for pedicle screws placing. While freehand technique has been classically performed with manual tools, there has been a recent trend toward the use of power tools. The aim of this review is to summarize and expose potential risks and advantages of power pedicle screws placing. The literature showed that the use of power tools offers an acceptable safety profile, comparable to manual technique. With an adequate training, the power technique may speed up the screw placing, reduce the fluoroscopy time and the physical stress to the spine surgeon. Regarding differences in pull-out strength between power and manual techniques, the literature is still uncertain and inconsistent, both in clinical and preclinical studies. The choice between the use of power and manual freehand pedicle screws placing is still based on the surgeon's own preference.

Keywords: Pedicle screws; Posterior spinal fusion; Power tools; Scoliosis; Spine surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Wires
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Pedicle Screws*
  • Spinal Fusion*
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted*