Lumbar pedicle screw fixation with cortical bone trajectory: A review from anatomical and biomechanical standpoints


Keitaro Matsukawa1), Yoshiyuki Yato2)

1) Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Self Defense Force Central Hospital, Tokyo, Japan
2) Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National Hospital Organization, Murayama Medical Center, Musashimurayama, Tokyo, Japan


Over the past few decades, many attempts to enhance the integrity of the bone-screw interface have been made to prevent pedicle screw failure and to achieve a better clinical outcome when treating a variety of spinal disorders. Cortical bone trajectory (CBT) has been developed as an alternative to the traditional lumbar pedicle screw trajectory. Contrary to the traditional trajectory, which follows the anatomical axis of the pedicle from a lateral starting point, CBT starts at the lateral part of the pars interarticularis and follows a mediolateral and caudocranial screw path through the pedicle. By markedly altering the screw path, CBT has the advantage of achieving a higher level of thread contact with the cortical bone from the dorsal entry point to the vertebral body. Biomechanical studies demonstrated the superior anchoring ability of CBT over the traditional trajectory, even with a shorter and smaller CBT screw. Furthermore, screw insertion from a more medial and caudal starting point requires less exposure and minimizes the procedure-related morbidity, such as reducing damage to the paraspinal muscles, avoiding iatrogenic injury to the cranial facet joint, and maintaining neurovascular supply to the fused segment. Thus, the features of CBT, which enhance screw fixation with limited surgical exposure, have attracted the interest of surgeons as a new minimally invasive method for spinal fusion.
The purpose of this study was: 1) to identify the features of the CBT technique by reviewing previous anatomical and biomechanical literature, and 2) to describe its clinical application with a focus on the indications, limitations, surgical technique, and clinical evidence.

Released: October 27, 2017; doi: