Indexed on: 09 May '14Published on: 09 May '14Published in: Orthopedics
Although C1-C2 pedicle screw fixation provides an excellent fusion rate and rigid fixation, this technique has a potential risk. It is essential to develop an accurate screwing method to avoid this neurovascular injury. To develop and validate the accuracy of a novel navigational template for C1-C2 pedicle screw placement in cadaveric specimens, computed tomography scans with 1-mm-wide cuts were obtained of 32 cadaveric cervical specimens. The authors developed 64 three-dimensional full-scale templates that were created by computer modeling with a rapid prototyping technique from the computed tomography data. Drill templates were constructed with a custom trajectory for each level and side. The drill templates were used to guide the establishment of a pilot hole for screw placement. The average distances between ideal and actual entry points of the C1 pedicle screws in the x, y, and z axes were 0.16±0.46 mm, 0.11±0.52 mm, and -0.01±0.54 mm, respectively, on the left side and 0.11±0.49 mm, 0.01±0.56 mm, and -0.09±0.59 mm, respectively, on the right side. The average distances between ideal and actual entry points of the C2 pedicle screws in the x, y, and z axes were 0.05±0.54 mm, 0.20±0.59 mm, and -0.06±0.58 mm, respectively, on the left side and 0.17±0.55 mm, 0.1±0.58 mm, and -0.01±0.49 mm, respectively, on the right side. Factors related to human error and imprecision are responsible for most malpositioning of instrumentation. The rapid prototyping drill template for C1-C2 screw placement is described to minimize human error, although it introduces error related to computer software and variation in manufacturing.