Accurate preoperative rod length measurement for thoracoscopic anterior instrumentation and fusion for idiopathic scoliosis

Daniel J. Sucato, Reagan Flohr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Anterior thoracoscopic instrumentation/fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis has long operative times and does not allow surgeons to adjust rod length within the chest. Intraoperative rod length measurement requires placing measurement devices into the chest, adding operative time, and results in overestimation of rod length. The study purpose was to develop a method to preoperatively determine accurate rod length. METHODS: Two groups of patients were analyzed depending on when the rod length was determined: group 1: intraoperatively using intraoperative rod-measuring device (n = 12); group 2: preoperatively using the new technique (n = 12). For group 2, the preoperative convex length was measured between planned instrumented levels on the preoperative posteroanterior (PA) film, and ideal rod length was measured on the postoperative PA radiograph. The conversion ratio was determined by dividing the preoperative convex length by the ideal rod length and was 1.29 ± 0.08. RESULTS: For group 1, the actual rod length was 3.8 cm longer than the ideal length compared with 0.8 cm for group 2 (P < 0.05). Operative times improved (51.4 vs 46.2 min/disc level) after adopting this technique. CONCLUSIONS: A simple and accurate preoperative method to determine appropriate rod length for thoracoscopically assisted anterior instrumentation/fusion was developed, which saves operative time and is more accurate when compared with the intraoperative method. This technique can be applied when using an open anterior approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S96-S100
JournalJournal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005


  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • Anterior thoracoscopic instrumentation
  • Preoperative measurement
  • Rod length
  • Thoracoscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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