Objective: The goal of this study was to evaluate the comparative accuracy and safety of navigation-based approaches for cervical pedicle screw (CPS) placement over fluoroscopic techniques.
Methods: A systematic search of the literature published between January 2006 and December 2019 relating to CPS instrumentation and the comparative accuracy and safety of fluoroscopic and intraoperative computer-based navigation techniques was conducted. Several databases, including the Cochrane Library, PubMed, and EMBASE, were systematically searched to identify potentially eligible studies. Data relating to CPS insertion accuracy and associated complications, in particular neurovascular complications, were extrapolated from the included studies and summarized for analysis.
Results: A total of 17 studies were identified from the search methodology. Eleven studies evaluated CPS placement under traditional fluoroscopic guidance and 6 studies addressed outcomes following navigation-assisted placement (3D C-arm or CT-guided placement). Overall, a total of 4278 screws were placed in 1065 patients. Misplacement rates of CPS were significantly lower (p < 0.0001) in navigation-assisted techniques (12.51% [range 2.5%-20.5%]) compared to fluoroscopy-guided techniques (18.8% [range 0%-43.5%]). Fluoroscopy-guided CPS insertion was associated with a significantly higher incidence of postoperative complications relating to neurovascular injuries (p < 0.038), with a mean incidence of 1.9% compared with 0.3% in navigation-assisted techniques.
Conclusions: This systematic review supports a logical conclusion that navigation-based techniques confer a statistically significantly more accurate screw placement and resultant lower complication rates.
Keywords: fluoroscopy; navigation; pedicle screw; subaxial cervical spine.