Technology and health care : official journal of the European Society for Engineering and Medicine vol:4 issue:4 pages:365-84
Internal fixation techniques are in common used to stabilize vertebral fractures and correct severe scoliosis. Consolidation of injured vertebrae with neighbouring intact vertebra is the goal in the former case whilst fusion of the vertebrae in a corrected position is aimed at in the latter case. Degenerative spine diseases are not considered in this paper. Classical instrumentation consists of rods (e.g., Cotrel-Dubousset, Harrington, Luque-Galveston) attached to the bone by means of hooks or wires. More recently, transpedicular screws are introduced as an alternative bone/implant interface. Comparing the results of several studies, the posterior pedicle screw based devices demonstrate the ability to produce the most rigid constructs. However, the insertion of pedicle screws implicates a relatively high complication risk and its success strongly depends on the experience of the surgeon. Incorrect drilled holes or malplacement of the screws can result in nerve root injuries and fracture of the pedicle. Studies reported complication ratios up to 30% with substantial neurological implications. A certain degree of automation of the critical actions may be necessary to enhance the safety of pedicle screw insertion. Two techniques of computer assisted spine surgery are compared. Both techniques permit a computer assisted surgical planning based on CT images. During operation the first system permanently observes the position of the drill relative to the spine and informs the surgeon on the deviation of the actual drill path to the planned drill path. The second system uses a pre-operative surgical planning to design and construct a mechanical drill guide, fitting perfectly on the patient's spine.