Interested medical professionals can read the full paper, as published in Clinical Spine Surgery, here.
Prior cadaveric research showed that the lateral mass and facets are landmarks to determine the initial starting point for lateral mass screws and that the optimum screw trajectory was 30 degrees lateral and 15 degrees cephalad. The missing link was an intraoperative landmark to guide the trajectory for drilling according to these angles. The authors hypothesized that spinous processes can be used to guide the trajectory for lateral mass screw placement.
The authors analyzed 144 lateral masses of 72 cervical vertebrae in 18 cadavers (7 males and 11 females). The lateral and cephalocaudad angles were measured for each lateral mass from C3 to C6 while using the spinous processes of the adjacent three caudad vertebrae at each level to guide the starting trajectories for a total of 864 angles. The lateral and cephalad trajectory angles at each spinous process relative to the starting hole were compared with 30 degrees and 15 degrees . For each angle measured at a particular level, the same starting hole was used in the lateral mass, and the superolateral cortex of each spinous process was the most medial point.
When drilling for the C3 and C4 lateral mass screws, the C4 and C5 spinous processes provided an accurate starting point, respectively, for the lateral angle but moderately overestimated the cephalocaudad angle. For C5 and C6 lateral mass screws, the C6 and C7 spinous processes provided an accurate starting point, respectively, for both the lateral and the cephalocaudad angles.
The spinous processes can be an accurate local anatomic guide for lateral mass screw trajectory and will allow greater safety while drilling before performing laminectomies. These guides may change in patients with cervical spinal deformities.
About Author Dr. Kingsley R. Chin
Dr. Kingsley R. Chin is a board-certified Harvard-trained orthopedic spine surgeon and professor with copious business and information technology experience. He sees a niche opportunity where medicine, business and information technology meet and is uniquely experienced at the intersection of these three professions. He currently serves as Professor of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences at the Charles E. Schmidt School of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University and Professor of Clinical Orthopaedic Surgery at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University and has experience as Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and Visiting Professor at the University of the West Indies.
About Less Exposure Surgery
Less Exposure Surgery (LES) is based on a new philosophy of performing surgery, leading the charge to prove through bench and clinical outcomes research that LES treatment options are the best solutions – to lowering the cost of healthcare, improving outcomes and increasing patient satisfaction. Learn more at LESSociety.org.
The LES Society philosophy: “Tailor treatment to the individual aiding in the quickest recovery and return to a pain-free lifestyle, using LES® techniques that lessen exposure, preserve unoffending anatomy and utilize new technologies which are safe, easy to adopt and reproducible. These LES®techniques lessen blood loss, surgical time and exposure to radiation and can be safely performed in an outpatient center. Less is more.” – Kingsley R. Chin, MD
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The above study utilized LES Technology from SpineFrontier – leading provider of LES Technologies and instruments – offering surgeons and patients superior technology and services.
Scientific Paper Author & Citation Details
- Division of Spine Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org