New Technique Decreases Radiation Exposure

Navigation-assisted fluoroscopy shown to be safe, feasible for minimally invasive spine surgery

MONDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- The use of navigation-assisted fluoroscopy for minimally invasive spine surgery is both possible and safe, according to an article published in the July issue of The Spine Journal.

Choll W. Kim, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California San Diego, and colleagues performed a mixed cadaveric and human study to determine differences in surgical times and radiation exposures for minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion using navigation-assisted fluoroscopy versus standard intraoperative fluoroscopy.

While no significant time differences were noted for approach, exposure, screw insertion, decompression or total surgical time in the 18 cadaveric procedures of the study, navigation-assisted fluoroscopy required more setup time (9.67 versus 4.78 minutes), but less total fluoroscopy time (28.7 versus 41.9 seconds) with the cadavers. In the clinical series of 10 patients, total fluoroscopy time was also lower with navigation-assisted fluoroscopy (57.1 seconds versus 147.2 seconds) with no differences in operating time, estimated blood loss or hospital stay. No complications were noted with navigation-assisted fluoroscopy, and one inadvertent durotomy occurred with standard fluoroscopy.

Navigation-assisted fluoroscopy "is simple and readily applicable for most spine surgeons," the authors write. "Initial, short-term clinical results support its feasibility and safety. The surgical team benefits from reduced exposure to ionizing radiation and improved operating room ergonomics."

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