A spine frame for intra-operative fixation to increase accuracy in spinal navigation and robotics

Ulrich W. Thomale, Marc Kneissler, Andreas Hein, Martin Maetzig, Stefan Nikolaus Kroppenstedt, Tim Lueth, Christian Woiciechowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: Intra-operative movements due to mechanical ventilation or manipulations are a limiting factor for accurate spinal navigation or robotic-assisted spinal surgery. The purpose of this study was to assess the accuracy of an intra-operative spinal fixation device in an experimental setup. Materials and Methods: We developed a fixation device, attached to the operating table, that combines soft tissue retraction with spinal process fixation. Using a lumbar spine cadaver, tightness of fixation was evaluated using two measurement systems. Accuracy measurements using changes in spatial co-ordinates of implanted reference markers were performed in three segments, following different manipulations of the spine. In addition, for intra-operative movements of the spine during mechanical ventilation, the range of motion was determined in 10 patients during lumbar interbody fusion. Results: The spine frame was easy to use and did not restrict screw insertion. Mean deviations of the markers' in all segments were measured at between 0.35 and 0.8 mm, following pedicle screw insertion and lateral traction. Intra-operative range of motion of the spine was measured with a mean value of 8.7 ± 3.3 mm. Conclusion: Using our spine frame, a rigid fixation following manipulation of the spine was demonstrated. By overcoming the intra-operative movement-dependent inaccuracy, safety in navigated spine surgery and robotic-assisted procedures might be improved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-155
Number of pages5
JournalComputer Aided Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer-assisted
  • Navigation, robotic
  • Pedicle screw
  • Spine frame


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