The feasibility and radiological features of sacral alar iliac fixation in an adult population: A 3D imaging study

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Background: Surgical treatments for adult spinal deformities often include pelvic fixation, and the feasibility of sacral-2 alar iliac (S2AI) screw fixation has been shown previously. However, sometimes S2AI screw fixation cannot be applied due to the presence of an osteolytic lesion or trauma or because the biomechanical properties of only an S2AI screw is insufficient. Therefore, we questioned the feasibility of using sacral AI screws in other segments and determined whether S3AI and S4AI screws have the potential to be used for sacral fractures. The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility and radiological features of sacral AI fixation in S1-S4 in an adult population using 3D imaging techniques. Methods: Computed tomography (CT) scans were taken of 45 patients and were imported into Mimics (Version 10.01, Materialise, Belgium) software to reconstruct the 3D digital images. Next, a cylinder (radius of 3.5 mm) was drawn to imitate the screw trajectory of a S1-4 AI screw, and every imitated screw in each segment was adjusted to a maximum upward and downward angle to acquire the feasible region. The parameters of the S1-4AI screw trajectories were measured. Results: Sacral AI screws could be successfully imitated using 3D digital imaging. The S4AI screw trajectory could be obtained in 19 of 45 patient images (42.2%), while the feasibility rates of S1AI, S2AI, and S3AI screw fixation were 100%, 100%, and 91.1% (41/45), respectively. The feasible regions of S1AI, S2AI, and S3AI screw trajectories were wide enough, while the adjustable angle of S4AI screws was very small. Conclusion: It is feasible to place S1-2AI screws in the entire adult population and S3-4AI screws in some of the adult population. Furthermore, our study suggested that 3D digital images are suitable to study the feasibility of new screw fixation.




Wu, A. M., Chi, Y. L., Ni, W. F., & Huang, Y. X. (2016). The feasibility and radiological features of sacral alar iliac fixation in an adult population: A 3D imaging study. PeerJ, 2016(1).

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