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We prospectively assessed the feasibility and safety of a new percutaneous pedicle screw (PPS) fixation technique for instrumentation of the thoracic and lumbar spine in this study. All patients were operated in the prone position under general anesthesia. A 6 to 8 cm midline skin incision was made and wide sub-cutaneous dissection was performed. The paravertebral muscles were first dissected subperiosteally into the midline incision of the fascia for lumbar microdiscectomy with transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion cage implantation. After the secondary paramedian incisions on the fascia, the PPSs were inserted via cleavage of the multifidus muscles directly into the pedicles under fluoroscopy visualization. A total of 35 patients underwent surgery with this new surgical technique. The control group for operative time, blood loss and analgesic usage consisted of 35 randomly selected cases from our department. The control group underwent surgery via conventional pedicle screw instrumentation with paramedian fusion. All patients in the minimal invasive surgery series were ambulatory with minimal pain on the first postoperative day. The operation time and blood loss and the postoperative analgesic consumption were significantly less with this new technique. In conclusion, the minimal invasive mini open split-muscular percutaneous pedicle screw fixation technique is safe and feasible. It can be performed via a short midline skin incision and can also be combined with interbody fusion, causing minimal pain without severe muscle damage.
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