Guided pedicle screw insertion: Techniques and training

Amir Manbachi, Richard S.C. Cobbold, Howard J. Ginsberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Background context: In spinal fusion surgery, the accuracy with which screws are inserted in the pedicle has a direct effect on the surgical outcome. Accurate placement generally involves considerable judgmental skills that have been developed through a lengthy training process. Because the impact of misaligning one or more pedicle screws can directly affect patient safety, a number of navigational and trajectory verification approaches have been described and evaluated in the literature to provide some degree of guidance to the surgeon. Purpose: To provide a concise review to justify the need and explore the current state of developing navigational or trajectory verification techniques for ensuring proper pedicle screw insertion along with simulation methods for better educating the surgical trainees. Study design: Recent literature review. Methods: To justify the need to develop new methods for optimizing pedicle screw paths, we first reviewed some of the recent publications relating to the statistical outcomes for different types of navigation along with the conventional freehand (unassisted) screw insertion. Second, because of the importance of providing improved training in the skill of accurate screw insertion, the training aspects of relevant techniques are considered. The third part is devoted to the description of specific navigational assist methods or trajectory verification techniques and these include computer-assisted navigation, three-dimensional simulations, and also electric impedance and optical and ultrasonic image-guided methods. Conclusions: This article presents an overview of the need and the current status of the guidance methods available for improving the surgical outcomes in spinal fusion procedures. It also describes educational aids that have the potential for reducing the training process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-179
Number of pages15
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Image-guided surgery
  • Pedicle screw insertion
  • Resident training
  • Spinal fusion surgery
  • Surgical navigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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