Three well-defined methods for pelvic fixation are used for biomechanical support in spine fusion constructs: iliac, recessed iliac, and S2-alar-iliac (S2AI) screws. The authors compared the maximum screw sizes that could be placed with these techniques by using image-guidance software and high-resolution computed tomography scans from 20 randomly selected patients. Six trajectories were plotted per side, beginning at recognized starting points (standard or recessed posterior superior iliac spine [PSIS] or S2AI screw) and ending at the anterior inferior iliac spine (AIIS) or supra-acetabular notch (SAN).
The mean maximum screw length and width ranged from 80.0 ± 32.2 mm to 140.8 ± 22.6 mm and from 8.25 ± 1.2 mm to 13.0 ± 2.7 mm, respectively, depending on the trajectory. Statistically significant differences in length were found between the standard and recessed PSIS trajectories to the AIIS (p < 0.001) and between the standard PSIS-to-AIIS trajectory and the S2AI-to-AIIS (p = 0.007) or S2AI-to-SAN (p < 0.001) trajectories. The most successful trajectory was the PSIS to SAN (95%, 38/40).
The traditional iliac screw trajectory enabled the longest and widest screw trajectories and highest rate of successful screw placement with the fewest theoretical breaches more reliably than recessed and S2AI trajectories. These findings may help surgeons plan for maximum screw purchase for pelvic fixation.