C1 lateral mass screw insertion using cannulated, navigated screws: preliminary results of a novel technique

Ran Harel*, Gil Kimchi, Avital Perry, Nachshon Knoller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The upper cervical spine region is densely populated by neural and vascular structures impeding the approach for fusion surgery. Technological advancement simplify the approach to C1-C2 fusion, thus reduce risks. The current paper purpose is to describe initial experience with a novel technique modification for C1 lateral screw insertion that incorporates cannulated-navigated screw system with intra-operative 3D imaging. Methods: A single-center single surgeon database was reviewed to identify all patients who underwent placement of C1 lateral mass screw insertion using the novel technique modification described below, on 2020. This cohort was retrospectively analyzed and compared with a cohort of patients who were operated on by the same surgeon with non-cannulated, navigated screws with intra-operative 3D imaging (O-arm, Medtronic, USA) between 2011 and 2019. Following navigated starting hole and drilling of the C1 lateral mass, a blunt guide-wire is used to palpate the hole and cannulated screw is advanced to the correct position over the wire. After initial purchase, a navigated screw driver is used for final screw depth position. Results: Twelve C1 lateral mass screws were inserted in six patients using this novel cannulated-navigated screw placement technique and compared to 24 patients operated using navigated non-cannulated screws. Minimal Estimated Blood Loss (EBL) was recorded in five of six cases undergoing the novel cannulated navigated placement of C1 lateral mass screws. Comparison to non-cannulated cohort demonstrated an EBL of 83CC vs. 354CC (Not significant). Mean surgery time was 97min and 118min for the cannulated-navigated and navigated only procedures (p = 0.03, statistically significant) respectively. In the current cohort, all screws were rated in optimal position and no repositioning procedures were performed. Conclusion: The new method presented allows for faster and possibly safer and more accurate C1 lateral mass screw insertion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1624-1627
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023


FundersFunder number
Matan Harel


    • C1 fusion
    • Cannulated screws
    • harm's procedure
    • posterior cervical approach


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