Biomodeling as an Aid to Spinal Instrumentation
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STUDY DESIGN: Prospective trial. OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate a new method of spinal stereotaxy. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Biomodeling has been found to be helpful for complex skeletal surgery. Frameless stereotaxy has been used for spinal surgery but has significant limitations. A novel stereotactic technique using biomodels has been developed. METHODS: Twenty patients with complex spinal disorders requiring instrumentation were recruited. A three-dimensional CT scan of their spine was performed, and the data were transferred via a DICOM network to a computer workstation. ANATOMICS BIOBUILD software was used to generate the code required to manufacture exact acrylate biomodels of each spine using rapid prototyping. The biomodels were used to obtain informed consent from patients and to simulate surgery. Simulation was performed using a standard power drill to place trajectory pins into the spinal biomodel. Acrylate drill guides were manufactured using the biomodels and trajectory pins as templates. The biomodels and drill guides were sterilized and used intraoperatively to assist with surgical navigation and the placement of instrumentation. RESULTS: The biomodels were found to be highly accurate and of great assistance in the planning and execution of the surgery. The ability to drill optimum screw trajectories into the biomodel and then accurately replicate the trajectory was judged especially helpful. Accurate screw placement was confirmed with postoperative CT scanning. The design of the first two templates was suboptimal as the contact surface area was too great and complex. Approximately 20 minutes was spent before surgery preparing each biomodel and template. Operating time was reduced, as less reliance on intraoperative radiograph was necessary. Patients stated that the biomodels improved informed consent. CONCLUSIONS: The authors have developed a novel method of spinal stereotaxy using exact plastic copies of the spine manufactured using biomodeling technology. Biomodel spinal stereotaxy is a simple and accurate technique that may have advantages over frameless stereotaxy.
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