Pediatric Pedicle Screws: Comparative Effectiveness and Safety

Ledonio, Charles Gerald T.; Polly Jr., David W.; Vitale, Michael G.; Qi Wang; Richards, B. Stephens
July 2011
Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, American Volume;7/6/2011, Vol. 93-A Issue 13, p1227
Academic Journal
Background: Pedicle screws are widely used in spinal surgery. There is extensive published literature concerning the use of pedicle screw instrumentation for spinal surgery in adults. Now there is a trend to use pedicle screws in pediatric patients, including the very young. A systematic review of the current English-language literature on the use of pedicle screw instrumentation in the pediatric age group was performed to specifically determine (1) the pedicle screw placement accuracy in patients with spine deformity and (2) the effect size of all-pedicle screw constructs compared with other methods of spinal instrumentation in terms of the percentage of scoliosis correction. Methods: English-language studies of pedicle screw use in pediatric patients (defined as those younger than eighteen years of age) were included. Descriptive statistics synthesized the accuracy of pedicle screw placement. Accuracy rates were compared between pediatric and adult patients. The effect of pedicle screw instrumentation on scoliosis correction was calculated with use of Cobb angle measurements. Results: On the basis of the literature search, 1181 articles were screened, 320 abstracts were examined, and ninety full-text articles representing 5761 patients were reviewed in detail. Seventeen studies met the inclusion criteria for the analysis of pedicle screw placement accuracy. A total of 13,536 pedicle screws were placed in 1353 pediatric patients. The overall placement accuracy rate in pediatric patients was 94.9%, which was higher than the rate of 91.5% reported for adults. The weighted, geometric, and 5% trimmed mean accuracy rates of pedicle screw placement were 91.9%, 88.5%, and 89.1%, respectively (standard deviation = 10%; interquartile range = 10%). Sixteen comparative studies met the inclusion criteria for the analysis of the effect of pedicle screw instrumentation on scoliosis correction. Pedicle screw constructs had a significantly larger percentage of Cobb angle correction compared with hooks (Cohen's d = 1.14) and hybrid constructs (Cohen's d = 0.49). Conclusions: The accuracy of pedicle screw placement in the pediatric spine exceeds the accuracy rate reported in adults. Pedicle screw instrumentation constructs are significantly more effective for scoliosis correction, as determined on the basis of Cobb angle measurements, than are hook constructs and hybrid constructs. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.


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