Fusion Mass Screws in Revision Spinal Deformity Surgery: A Simple and Safe Alternative Fixation

Int J Spine Surg. 2023 Feb;17(1):17-24. doi: 10.14444/8352. Epub 2022 Aug 2.


Background: Revision spinal deformity surgery has a high rate of complications. Fixation may be challenging due to altered anatomy. Screws through a fusion mass are an alternative to pedicle screw fixation.

Objective: The purpose of this retrospective study was to further elucidate the safety and efficacy of fusion mass screws (FMSs) in revision spinal deformity surgery.

Design: Retrospective case series.

Methods: Fifteen freehand FMSs were placed in 6 patients with adult spinal deformity between 2016 and 2018 by the senior author. FMSs were combined with pedicle screws, at times at the same level. FMSs were used to save distal levels from fusion, assist in closing a 3-column osteotomy and provide additional fixation in cases of severe instability. Computed tomography (CT) was used to assess bone mineral density (BMD) and thickness of each fusion mass preoperatively along with accuracy of FMS placement postoperatively.

Results: The mean BMD of the fusion mass was 397 Hounsfield units (HU; range: 156-628 HU). The mean AP thickness of the fusion mass was 15.5 ± 4.8 mm (range: 8.6-24.4 mm). The mean FMS length was 35.3 ± 5.5 mm (range: 25-40 mm). There was no evidence of FMS loosening, breakage, or pseudarthrosis at latest follow-up (mean: 2.2 years, range: 1.4-3.1 years). No neurologic deficits were observed. 1/15 screws had a low-grade breach into the canal (<2 mm). No patients required revision surgery.

Conclusion: FMSs may be used to augment fixation in revision spinal deformity cases when pedicle screw placement may be challenging. FMSs may also provide an additional anchor at levels with pedicular fixation.

Keywords: extrapedicular fixation; fusion mass; pedicular dysplasia; revision; spinal deformity.