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Xiaoguang Han, Wei Tian, Yajun Liu, Bo Liu, Da He, Yuqing Sun, Xiao Han, Mingxing Fan, Jingwei Zhao, Yunfeng Xu, and Qi Zhang

OBJECTIVE

The object of this study was to compare the safety and accuracy of pedicle screw placement using the TiRobot system versus conventional fluoroscopy in thoracolumbar spinal surgery.

METHODS

Patients with degenerative or traumatic thoracolumbar spinal disorders requiring spinal instrumentation were randomly assigned to either the TiRobot-assisted group (RG) or the freehand fluoroscopy-assisted group (FG) at a 1:1 ratio. The primary outcome measure was the accuracy of screw placement according to the Gertzbein-Robbins scale; grades A and B (pedicle breach < 2 mm) were considered clinically acceptable. In the RG, discrepancies between the planned and actual screw placements were measured by merging postoperative CT images with the trajectory planning images. Secondary outcome parameters included proximal facet joint violation, duration of surgery, intraoperative blood loss, conversion to freehand approach in the RG, postoperative hospital stay, and radiation exposure.

RESULTS

A total of 1116 pedicle screws were implanted in 234 patients (119 in the FG, and 115 in the RG). In the RG, 95.3% of the screws were perfectly positioned (grade A); the remaining screws were graded B (3.4%), C (0.9%), and D (0.4%). In the FG, 86.1% screws were perfectly positioned (grade A); the remaining screws were graded B (7.4%), C (4.6%), D (1.4%), and E (0.5%). The proportion of clinically acceptable screws was significantly greater in the RG than in the FG (p < 0.01). In the RG, the mean deviation was 1.5 ± 0.8 mm for each screw. The most common direction of screw deviation was lateral in the RG and medial in the FG. Two misplaced screws in the FG required revision surgery, whereas no revision was required in the RG. None of the screws in the RG violated the proximal facet joint, whereas 12 screws (2.1%) in the FG violated the proximal facet joint (p < 0.01). The RG had significantly less blood loss (186.0 ± 255.3 ml) than the FG (217.0 ± 174.3 ml; p < 0.05). There were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of surgical time and postoperative hospital stay. The mean cumulative radiation time was 81.5 ± 38.6 seconds in the RG and 71.5 ± 44.2 seconds in the FG (p = 0.07). Surgeon radiation exposure was significantly less in the RG (21.7 ± 11.5 μSv) than in the FG (70.5 ± 42.0 μSv; p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

TiRobot-guided pedicle screw placement is safe and useful in thoracolumbar spinal surgery.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02890043 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Jun Jae Shin, Hyeongseok Jeon, Jong Joo Lee, Hyung Cheol Kim, Tae Woo Kim, Sung Bae An, Dong Ah Shin, Seong Yi, Keung-Nyun Kim, Do-Heum Yoon, Narihito Nagoshi, Kota Watanabe, Masaya Nakamura, Morio Matsumoto, Nan Li, Sai Ma, Da He, Wei Tian, Kenny Yat Hong Kwan, Kenneth Man Chee Cheung, K. Daniel Riew, Daniel J. Hoh, Yoon Ha, and the Asia Pacific Spine Study Group (APSSG)

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this retrospective multicenter study was to compare prognostic factors for neurological recovery in patients undergoing surgery for cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) based on their presenting mild, moderate, or severe myelopathy.

METHODS

The study included 372 consecutive patients with OPLL who underwent surgery for cervical myelopathy between 2006 and 2016 in East Asian countries with a high OPLL prevalence. Baseline and postoperative clinical outcomes were assessed using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) myelopathy score and recovery ratio. Radiographic assessment included occupying ratio, cervical range of motion, and sagittal alignment parameters. Patient myelopathy was classified as mild, moderate, or severe based on the preoperative JOA score. Linear and multivariate regression analyses were performed to identify patient and surgical factors associated with neurological recovery stratified by baseline myelopathy severity.

RESULTS

The mean follow-up period was 45.4 months (range 25–140 months). The mean preoperative and postoperative JOA scores and recovery ratios for the total cohort were 11.7 ± 3.0, 14.5 ± 2.7, and 55.2% ± 39.3%, respectively. In patients with mild myelopathy, only age and diabetes correlated with recovery. In patients with moderate to severe myelopathy, older age and preoperative increased signal intensity on T2-weighted imaging were significantly correlated with a lower likelihood of recovery, while female sex and anterior decompression with fusion (ADF) were associated with better recovery.

CONCLUSIONS

Various patient and surgical factors are correlated with likelihood of neurological recovery after surgical treatment for cervical OPLL, depending on the severity of presenting myelopathy. Older age, male sex, intramedullary high signal intensity, and posterior decompression are associated with less myelopathy improvement in patients with worse baseline function. Therefore, myelopathy-specific preoperative counseling regarding prognosis for postoperative long-term neurological improvement should include consideration of these individual and surgical factors.