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A comparison of ultrasound volume navigation, O-arm navigation, and X-ray guidance for screw placement in minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion: a randomized controlled trial

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To compare the differences between Ultrasound Volume Navigation (UVN), O-arm Navigation, and conventional X-ray fluoroscopy-guided screw placement in Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (MIS-TLIF) surgeries.


A total of 90 patients who underwent MIS-TLIF due to lumbar disc herniation from January 2022 to January 2023 were randomly assigned to the UVN group, O-arm group, and X-ray group. UVN, O-arm navigation, and X-ray guidance were used for screw placement in the respective groups, while the remaining surgical procedures followed routine MIS-TLIF protocols. Intraoperative data including average single screw placement time, total radiation dose, and average effective radiation dose per screw were recorded and calculated. On the 10th day after surgery, postoperative X-ray and CT examinations were conducted to assess screw placement accuracy and facet joint violation.


There were no significant differences in general characteristics among the three groups, ensuring comparability. Firstly, the average single screw placement time in the O-arm group was significantly shorter than that in the UVN group and X-ray group (P<0.05). Secondly, in terms of total radiation dose during surgery, for single-level MIS-TLIF, the O-arm group had a significantly higher radiation dose compared to the UVN group and X-ray group (P<0.05). However, for multi-level MIS-TLIF, the X-ray group had a significantly higher radiation dose than the O-arm group and UVN group (P<0.05). In terms of average single screw radiation dose, the O-arm group and X-ray group were similar (P>0.05), while the UVN group was significantly lower than the other two groups (P<0.05). Furthermore, no significant differences were found in screw placement assessment grades among the three groups (P>0.05). However, in terms of facet joint violation rate, the UVN group (10.3%) and O-arm group (10.7%) showed no significant difference (P>0.05), while the X-ray group (26.7%) was significantly higher than both groups (P<0.05). Moreover, in the UVN group, there were significant correlations between average single screw placement time and placement grade with BMI index (r = 0.637, P<0.05; r = 0.504, P<0.05), while no similar significant correlations were found in the O-arm and X-ray groups.


UVN-guided screw placement in MIS-TLIF surgeries demonstrates comparable efficiency, visualization, and accuracy to O-arm navigation, while significantly reducing radiation exposure compared to both O-arm navigation and X-ray guidance. However, UVN may be influenced by factors like obesity, limiting its application.

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2020 Medical and Health Guiding Science and Technology Plan Project of Luoyang City (2040007 A).

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Correspondence to Gang Zhao.

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This study received approval from the Ethics Committee of Henan Luoyang Orthopedic Hospital (Approval Number: KY2022-013-02). Informed consent was obtained from all patients.

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Lin, X., Chang, Q., Shang, L. et al. A comparison of ultrasound volume navigation, O-arm navigation, and X-ray guidance for screw placement in minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion: a randomized controlled trial. Eur Spine J (2024).

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