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Bungo Otsuki, Mitsuru Takemoto, Shunsuke Fujibayashi, Hiroaki Kimura, Kazutaka Masamoto and Shuichi Matsuda

Several articles have described the use of screw insertion guides during primary spine surgery; however, the use of such a guide during revision surgeries has not been described. The purpose of this study is to describe the utility of a custom screw insertion (CSI) guide assembled using a novel method and a full-scale, color-coded 3D plaster (FCTP) model for safe and accurate revision surgery.

The authors applied the CSI guide and the FCTP model in 3 cases. In the first case, a patient with multiple failed cervical spine surgeries underwent occipitocervicothoracic fusion. After a successful result for this patient, the authors applied the CSI guide in 2 other patients who underwent revision lumbar fusion surgeries to confirm the accuracy and the efficacy of the CSI guides in such cases. The models and guides were fabricated using rapid prototyping technology. The effectiveness of these methods was examined.

The FCTP model was designed using CT data. During model assembly, implants inserted during previous surgery were removed virtually, and for the cervical spine, vertebral arteries were colored red for planning. The CSI guide was designed with 5 or 6 arms to fit the bone surface precisely after removing artifacts. Surgery was performed by referring to the FCTP model. Because the actual structure of the bone surface was almost identical to that of the FCTP model, surgical exposure around the complex bone shape proceeded smoothly. The CSI guides were positioned accurately to aid the successful insertion of a pedicle screw into the C-2 vertebra in the case of cervical revision surgery, and 4 pedicle screws for lumbar vertebrae in the 2 other patients. Postoperative CT scans showed that all screw positions closely matched those predicted during the preoperative planning. In conclusion, the FCTP models and the novel CSI guides were effective for safe and accurate revision surgery of the spine.

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Kazuaki Morizane, Mitsuru Takemoto, Masashi Neo, Shunsuke Fujibayashi, Bungo Otsuki, Shimei Tanida, Takayoshi Shimizu, Hiromu Ito and Shuichi Matsuda


Dyspnea and/or dysphagia is a life-threatening complication after occipitocervical fusion. The occiput-C2 angle (O-C2a) is useful for preventing dyspnea and/or dysphagia because O-C2a affects the oropharyngeal space. However, O-C2a is unreliable in atlantoaxial subluxation (AAS) because it does not reflect the translational motion of the cranium to C2, another factor affecting oropharyngeal area in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have reducible AAS. The authors previously proposed the occipital and external acoustic meatus to axis angle (O-EAa; i.e., the angle made by McGregor’s line and a line joining the external auditory canal and the middle point of the endplate of the axis [EA line]) as a novel, useful, and powerful predictor of the anterior-posterior narrowest oropharyngeal airway space (nPAS) distance in healthy subjects. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the validity of O-EAa as an indicator of oropharyngeal airway space in RA patients with AAS.


The authors investigated 64 patients with RA. The authors collected lateral cervical radiographs at neutral position, flexion, extension, protrusion, and retraction and measured the O-C2a, C2-C6, O-EAa, anterior atlantodental interval (AADI), and nPAS. Patients were classified into 2 groups according to the presence of AAS and its mobility: group N, patients without AAS; and group R, patients with reducible AAS during dynamic cervical movement.


Group N had a significantly lower AADI and O-EAa than group R in all but the extension position. The O-EAa was a better predictor for nPAS than O-C2a according to the mixed-effects models in both groups (marginal R2: 0.510 and 0.575 for the O-C2a and O-EAa models in group N, and 0.250 and 0.390 for the same models, respectively, in group R).


O-EAa was superior to O-C2a in predicting nPAS, especially in the case of AAS, because it affects both O-C2a and cranial translational motion. O-EAa would be a useful parameter for surgeons performing occipitocervical fusion in patients with AAS.