Systematic review of cortical bone trajectory versus pedicle screw techniques for lumbosacral spine fusion
Fusion of the lumbosacral spine is a common surgical procedure to address a range of spinal pathologies. Fixation in lumbar fusion has traditionally been performed using pedicle screw (PS) augmentation. However, an alternative method of screw insertion via cortical bone trajectory (CBT) has been advocated as a less invasive approach which improves initial fixation and reduces neurovascular injury. There is a paucity of robust clinical evidence to support these claims, particularly in comparison to traditional pedicle screws. This study aims to review the available evidence to assess the merits of the CBT approach. Six electronic databases were searched for original published studies which compared CBT with traditional PS and their findings reviewed. Nine comparative studies were identified through a comprehensive literature search. Studies were classified as retrospective cohort, prospective cohort or case control studies with medium quality as assessed by the GRADE criteria. The available literature is not cohesive regarding outcomes and complications of CBT versus PT procedures. Most studies found no difference in operative time, but reported less blood loss during CBT. Radiological outcomes show no difference in slippage at one year although CBT is associated with greater bone-density compared to PT. Results for post-operative pain are inconclusive.