Intraoperative navigation during spine surgery improves pedicle screw placement accuracy. However, limited studies have correlated the use of navigation with clinical factors, including operative time and safety. In the present study, we compared the complications and reoperations between surgeries with and without navigation.

The National Surgical Quality Improvement Project database was queried for posterior cervical and lumbar fusions and deformity surgeries from 2011 to 2018 and divided by navigation use. Patients aged >89 years, patients with deformity aged < 25 years, and patients undergoing surgery for tumors, fractures, infections, or nonelective indications were excluded. The demographics and perioperative factors were compared via univariate analysis. The outcomes were compared using multivariable logistic regression adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, American Society of Anesthesiologists class, surgical region, and multiple treatment levels. The outcomes were also compared stratifying by revision status.

Navigation surgery patients had had higher American Society of Anesthesiologists class (P < 0.0001), more multiple level surgeries (P < 0.0001), and longer operative times (P < 0.0001). The adjusted analysis revealed that navigated lumbar surgery had lower odds of complications (odds ratio [OR], 0.82; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.77-0.90; P < 0.0001), blood transfusion (OR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.72-0.87; P < 0.0001), and wound debridement and/or drainage (OR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.44-0.97; P = 0.04) compared with non-navigated lumbar surgery. Navigated cervical fusions had increased odds of transfusions (OR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.06-2.23; P = 0.02). Navigated primary fusion had decreased odds of complications (OR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.85-0.98; P = 0.01). However, no differences were found in revisions (OR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.69-1.14; P = 0.34).

Navigated surgery patients experienced longer operations owing to a combination of the time required for navigation, more multilevel procedures, and a larger comorbidity burden, without differences in the incidence of infection. Fewer complications and wound washouts were required for navigated lumbar surgery owing to a greater proportion percentage of minimally invasive cases. The combined use of navigation and minimally invasive surgery might benefit patients with the proper indications.

Polls results

On a scale of 1 to 10, rate how much this article will change your clinical practice?

NO change
BIG change
81% Article relates to my practice (13/16)
18% Article does not relate to my practice (3/16)
0% Undecided (0/16)

Will this article lead to more cost-effective healthcare?

56% Yes (9/16)
31% No (5/16)
12% Undecided (2/16)

Was this article biased? (commercial or personal)

0% Yes (0/16)
87% No (14/16)
12% Undecided (2/16)

What level of evidence do you think this article is?

6% Level 1 (1/16)
0% Level 2 (0/16)
75% Level 3 (12/16)
18% Level 4 (3/16)
0% Level 5 (0/16)