Article Abstract

Computer-assisted surgical navigation is associated with an increased risk of neurological complications: a review of 67,264 posterolateral lumbar fusion cases

Authors: Remi M. Ajiboye, Jayme C. B. Koltsov, Brian Karamian, Steven Swinford, Blake K. Montgomery, Alexander Arzeno, Chason Ziino, Ivan Cheng

Abstract

Background: Pedicle screw malposition may result in neurological complications following posterolateral lumbar fusions (PLF). While computer-assisted navigation (NAV) and intraoperative neuromonitoring (ION) have been shown to improve safety in deformity surgeries, their use in routine PLFs remain controversial. This study assesses the risk of complications and reoperation for pedicle screw revision following PLF with and without ION and/or NAV surgery.
Methods: Retrospective analyses were performed using the Truven Health MarketScan® databases to identify patients that had primary PLF with and without NAV and/or ION for degenerative lumbar disorders from years 2007–2015. Patients undergoing concomitant interbody fusions, spinal deformity surgery or fusion to the thoracic spine were excluded. Complications and reoperation for pedicle screw revision within 90 days of surgery were assessed.
Results: During the study period, 67,264 patients underwent PLFs. NAV only was used in 3.5% of patients, ION only in 17.9% and both NAV and ION in 0.8% of patients. In univariate analyses, there was a difference in the risk of neurological injuries among groups (NAV only: 1.4%, ION only: 0.8%, NAV and ION: 0.5%, No NAV or ION: 0.6%, P<0.001). In multivariable models, the use of NAV was associated with a higher risk of neurological complications when compared to ION only or no ION or NAV [NAV vs. ION only: odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) =2.1 (1.4, 3.2), P=0.002; NAV vs. no ION or NAV: OR and 95% CI =2.5 (1.7, 3.5), P<0.001]. There was no difference in reoperation rates among the groups (P=0.135).
Conclusions: Although the overall risk of neurological complications following PLFs is low, the use of NAV only was associated with an increased risk of neurological complications. No differences were observed in the rates of pedicle screw revision among groups.

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