Study DesignProspective cohort study.PurposeTo compare intraoperative parameters, radiation exposure, and pedicle screw perforation rate in navigation-guided versus non-navigated fluoroscopy-assisted minimal invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS TLIF).Overview of LiteratureThe poor reliability of fluoroscopy-guided instrumentation and growing concerns about radiation exposure have led to the development of navigation-guided instrumentation techniques in MIS TLIF. The literature evaluating the efficacy of navigation-guided MIS TLIF is scant.MethodsEighty-seven patients underwent navigation- or fluoroscopy-guided MIS TLIF for symptomatic lumbar/lumbosacral spondylolisthesis. Demographics, intraoperative parameters (surgical time, blood loss), and radiation exposure (sec/mGy/Gy.cm2 noted from C-arm for comparison only) were recorded. Computed tomography was performed in patients in the navigation and non-navigation groups at postoperative 12 months and reviewed by an independent observer to assess the accuracy of screw placement, perforation incidence, location, grade (Mirza), and critical versus non-critical neurological implications.ResultsTwenty-seven patients (male/female, 11/16; L4–L5/L5–S1, 9/18) were operated with navigation-guided MIS TLIF, whereas 60 (male/female, 25/35; L4–L5/L5–S1, 26/34) with conventional fluoroscopy-guided MIS TILF. The use of navigation resulted in reduced fluoroscopy usage (dose area product, 0.47 Gy.cm2 versus 2.93 Gy.cm2), radiation exposure (1.68 mGy versus 10.97 mGy), and fluoroscopy time (46.5 seconds versus 119.08 seconds), with p-values of <0.001. Furthermore, 96.29% (104/108) of pedicle screws in the navigation group were accurately placed (grade 0) (4 breaches, all grade I) compared with 91.67% (220/240) in the non-navigation group (20 breaches, 16 grade I+4 grade II; p=0.114). None of the breaches resulted in a corresponding neurological deficit or required revision.ConclusionsNavigation guidance in MIS TLIF reduced radiation exposure, but the perforation status was not statistically different than that for the fluoroscopy-based technique. Thus, navigation in nondeformity cases is useful for significantly reducing the radiation exposure, but its ability to reduce pedicle screw perforation in nondeformity cases remains to be proven.
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