OBJECTIVE: To compare the accuracy of pedicle screw insertion (PSI) into canine lumbosacral vertebrae with custom-made three-dimensionally (3D)-printed drill guides or freehand insertion.
STUDY DESIGN: Ex vivo study.
SAMPLE POPULATION: Nineteen canine lumbosacral specimens.
METHODS: Drill guides for PSI were designed on the basis of safe screw insertion trajectories by using preoperative computed tomography (CT) and produced by 3D printing of templates. Right and left sides of the specimens were randomly allocated to two groups; 4-mm pedicle screws were inserted in L5-L6 and L7-S1 spinal segments either freehand (control group) or with custom-made drill guides (guide group). Sixty-six screws were inserted with each method. Insertion angles (α, β), bone stock, and vertebral canal breach were assessed according to postoperative CT. χ2 Tests were used to compare vertebral canal breach between groups and vertebrae.
RESULTS: Breaches in the vertebral canal were less common (P < .001) when screws were placed with a guide in the guide group (9/66, 14%) than without a guide (30/66, 45%). The rate of vertebral canal breach differed at L5 (P = .021) but not at L6 (P = .05), L7 (P = .075) or S1 (P = .658). The angle of insertion (α) did not differ between specimens with and without breaches (guide, P = .068; control, P = .394).
CONCLUSION: The use of a customized 3D-printed guide generally improved the accuracy of PSI in canine lumbosacral vertebrae, although statistical significance was reached only at L5.
CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The use of customized drill guides may be considered as an alternative to freehand PSI in the lumbosacral area, especially for L5-L6 vertebrae.