Tips and pitfalls to improve accuracy and reduce radiation exposure in intraoperative CT navigation for pediatric scoliosis: a systematic review

Published:September 26, 2022DOI:



      An increasing number of medical centers are adopting an intraoperative computed tomography (iCT) navigation system (iCT-Navi) to provide three-dimensional navigation for pediatric scoliosis surgery. While iCT-Navi has been reported to provide higher pedicle screw (PS) insertion accuracy, it may also result in higher radiation exposure to the patient. What innovations and studies have been introduced to reduce radiation exposure and further improve PS insertion?


      Evaluate the level of evidence and quality of papers while categorizing the tips and pitfalls regarding pediatric scoliosis surgery using iCT-Navi. Compare iCT-Navi with other methods, including preoperative CT navigation.


      Systematic review.


      Articles on pediatric scoliosis surgery with iCT-Navi published through to June 2022.


      PS perforation rate and patient intraoperative radiation dose.


      Following PRISMA guidelines, the Cochrane Library, Google Scholar, and PubMed databases were searched for articles satisfying the criteria of iCT-Navi use and pediatric scoliosis surgery. The level of evidence and quality of the articles meeting the criteria were evaluated according to the guidelines of the North American Spine Society and American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, respectively. The articles were also categorized by theme and summarized in terms of PS insertion accuracy and intraoperative radiation dose. The origins and characteristics of five major classification methods of PS perforation grade were summarized as well.


      The literature search identified 811 studies, of which 20 papers were included in this review. Overall, 513 pediatric scoliosis patients (381 idiopathic, 44 neuromuscular, 39 neurofibromatosis type 1, 28 congenital, 14 syndromic, seven other) were evaluated for PS perforations among 6,209 iCT-Navi insertions. We found that 232 (3.7%) screws were judged as major perforations (G2 or G3), 55 (0.9%) screws were judged as dangerous deviations (G3), and seven (0.1%) screws were removed. There were no reports of neurovascular injury caused by PSs. The risk factors for PS perforation included more than six vertebrae distance from the reference frame, more than nine consecutive insertions, upper thoracic level, thinner pedicle, upper instrumented vertebra proximity, short stature, and female. The accuracy of PS insertion did not remarkably decrease when the radiation dose was reduced to 1/5 or 1/10 by altering the iCT-Navi protocol.


      iCT-Navi has the potential to reduce PS perforation rates compared with other methods. The use of low-dose radiation protocols may not significantly affect PS perforation rates. Although several risk factors for PS perforation and measures to reduce radiation dose have been reported, the current evidence is limited by a lack of consistency in classifying PS perforation and evaluating patient radiation dose among studies. The standardization of several outcome definitions is recommended in this rapidly developing field.


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