New Technique Identifies Correct Operative Spinal Level

Study demonstrates zero spinal localization errors where operative level and reference level differ

FRIDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- Computer-assisted image guidance may improve identification of the correct vertebral level prior to spinal surgery, according to an article published in the July issue of The Spine Journal.

Adrian Nowitzke, of Princess Alexandra Hospital in Woolloongabba, Australia, and colleagues describe a new technique for accurate identification of the correct vertebral level during surgery and report results from 17 cases involving the mid- or low-thoracic and lumbar regions. The new technique is used for identification of operative level in the spine where the operative level cannot be visualized on the same fluoroscopy field of view as the reference level.

Postoperative imaging confirmed that no incorrect levels of surgery occurred in any of the 17 cases, the researchers report. In addition, no accuracy errors during the surgery were cited and no complications occurred.

"This technique is indicated for level localization in the spine where the operative level cannot be visualized on the same fluoroscopy field of view as the reference level. It has a relative contraindication in the upper thoracic spine, in the very obese and in the presence of osteoporosis where fluoroscopic imaging is difficult," the authors write.

Two of the study authors disclosed financial relationships related to Medtronic Australasia Pty Ltd.

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