Global Spine J 2016; 06(08): 765-770
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1582393
Original Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Segmental Surface Referencing during Intraoperative Three-dimensional Image-Guided Spine Navigation: An Early Validation with Comparison to Automated Referencing

Amro F. Al-Habib
Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Salah Al-Akkad
Neurospinal Unit, Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

25 October 2015

16 February 2016

Publication Date:
20 April 2016 (eFirst)


Study Design Interventional human cadaver study.

Objective Intraoperative three-dimensional (3-D)-guided navigation improves spine instrumentation accuracy. However, image acquisition may need to be repeated with segment hypermobility or distant target from reference frame (RF). The current study evaluates the usefulness of internal metal fiducials (IMFs) as surface references in enhancing registration accuracy and avoiding repeating imaging.

Methods Six fresh-frozen cadaveric human torsos were utilized. Posterior C1–T2 exposure was done, and three IMFs were inserted per level; intraoperative 3-D images were then acquired. Two registration methods were utilized: autoregistration (AR, group 1) and point registration using IMF (IMFR, group 2). Registration accuracy was checked by identifying IMFs in both groups. Pedicle screws inserted into C2, C4, C5, and C7 based on the two registration methods (three cadavers each) with RF on C7 and then on C2.

Results The mean registration error was lower with IMFR compared with AR (0.35 ± 0.5 mm versus 2.02 ± 0.85 mm, p = 0.0001). Overall, 34 pedicle screws were inserted (AR, 18; IMFR, 16). Final screw placement was comparable using both techniques (p = 0.58). Lateral screws violations were observed in four IMFR screws (1 to 2 mm) as compared with five in AR group (2 to 3 mm). Reregistration after moving RF to C2 was possible using surface screws in IMFR group, thus avoiding new 3-D image acquisition.

Conclusion During intraoperative 3-D navigation in spine procedures, surface fiducial registration using IMF provided superior accuracy over automated registration. It allowed repeat registration without repeating radiation during long spine segment instrumentations. More studies are needed to clarify both practical and clinical application of this method.