header advert
Orthopaedic Proceedings Logo

Receive monthly Table of Contents alerts from Orthopaedic Proceedings

Comprehensive article alerts can be set up and managed through your account settings

View my account settings

Visit Orthopaedic Proceedings at:



Full Access



Introduction: We have assessed the clinical observation that the angle of the contralateral lamina matches the angle required from the sagittal plane for the placement of pedicle screws in the subaxial cervical spine.

Method: 54 axial CT scans were examined. All subjects were scanned for the exclusion of fracture between December 2003 and December 2004. The digitised images were analysed on the Philips PACS system using SECTRA software. 168 individual vertebrae were assessed between C3 and C7. The following were measured; the angle of the pedicle relative to the sagittal plane, the smallest internal and external diameter, the angle of the lamina and the distance from the lateral mass to the anterior vertebral body (LMAVB) in the line of the pedicle. Reproducibility was assessed in a subset of 10 individuals with paired measures using the FDA approved formula for CV%.

Results: Angular measures had a CV% of 3.9%. The re-measurement error for distance was 0.5mm. 336 pedicles were assessed in 25 females and 29 males. Average age was 48.2 years (range 17–85). Our morphologic data from live subjects was comparable to previous cadaveric data. Mean pedicle external diameter was 4.9mm at C3 and 6.6mm at C7. Females were marginally smaller than males. Left and right did not significantly differ. In no case was the pedicle narrower than 3.2mm. Mean pedicle angle was 130 deg at C3 and 140 deg at C7. The laminar angle correlated well at C3,4,5 (R2> 0.7) and was within 1 deg of pedicle angle. At C6,7 it was within 11 deg. In all cases a line parallel to the lamina provided a safe corridor of 3mm for a pedicle implant.

Conclusions: The contralateral lamina provides a reliable intraoperative guide to the angle from the sagittal plane for subaxial cervical pedicle instrumentation in adults.

Correspondence should be addressed to: Sue Woodward, Secreteriat, Britspine, Vale Clinic, Hensol Park, Vale of Glamorgan, CF72 8JY Wales.