The effect of an aiming device on the accuracy of humeral transcondylar screw placement

Katherine M Neal, Hayley M Gallaher, Alexis Thompson, Mary D Kerby
Vet Surg. 2023 Mar 16. doi: 10.1111/vsu.13952.

Objectives: (1) To evaluate the accuracy of an aiming device on placement of humeral transcondylar screws compared to fluoroscopic methods. (2) To compare experience level on outcome.

Study design: Randomized, match pair, prospective ex-vivo study.

Sample population: A total of 68 dogs.

Methods: Canine cadaveric forelimbs were randomly assigned to either aiming device or fluoroscopic-guided groups, and to diplomate or resident. Digital radiography was used to evaluate screw trajectory deviation and eccentricity on the humeral condyle. Procedure time, outcome based on experience, and complications were recorded.

Results: The aiming device screw trajectory angle was decreased in the right limb (1.9 ± 1.1°) compared with the left (3.6 ± 1.1°, p = .0178), and compared to fluoroscopy (3.4 ± 1.1° p = .0128). There was no difference between leg laterality with fluoroscopy (p = .9979). Trajectory angle was increased with resident versus diplomate (3.4 ± 1.1° and 2.5 ± 1.1° respectively, p = .0366). Eccentricity deviation was decreased using fluoroscopy versus aiming device (3.1 ± 0.36 mm, 4.2 ± 0.36 mm, respectively, p = .0017). The risk of joint involvement was 8 times greater in aiming device groups, though not significant (p = .0575). Significant complications included increased drill attempts in fluoroscopic groups (p = .0237).

Conclusion: The aiming device provided accurate placement of transcondylar screws, in terms of both position on the condyle and trajectory angle. Results were similar to fluoroscopic-guided method.

Clinical significance: An aiming device is an acceptable means of placing humeral transcondylar screws. The use of the aiming device had an eight times increased risk of joint involvement compared to fluoroscopy.