Pelvic parameters directly influence ideal S2 alar-iliac (S2AI) screw trajectory

Bradley J. Vivace, Joseph L. Laratta, Jeffrey L. Gum, Jamal N. Shillingford, John R.Dimar II, Steven D. Glassman, Lee A. Tan, Nana O. Sarpong, James D. Lin, Ronald A. Lehman, Yongjung J. Kim, Lawrence G. Lenke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The utilization of the S2 Alar-Iliac (S2AI) screw provides an optimal method of spinopelvic fixation. The free-hand placement of these screws obviates the use of intra-operative fluoroscopy and relies heavily on sacropelvic anatomy; variations of this anatomy could alter the ideal screw trajectory. The S2AI corridor is near several neurovascular structures, thus an accurate trajectory is critical. The reported angles of trajectory vary within the literature and a paucity of data exists on how patient morphometry influences ideal screw trajectory. We sought to examine the relationship between ideal screw trajectory and pelvic parameters. Methods: The records of 99 consecutive patients with degenerative thoracolumbar pathology were reviewed and pelvic parameters including sacral slope, pelvic tilt, and pelvic incidence were measured with preoperative standing radiographs. Using 3-dimensional computed tomography (CT) reconstructions, an ideal S2AI trajectory was defined and anteroposterior (horizontal) and cephalocaudal (sagittal) angles were recorded. Results: Pelvic tilt was found to have a moderate inverse correlation with cephalocaudal screw trajectory (r=-0.467, p-value=0.006). Pelvic incidence and sacral slope had weaker correlations with cephalocaudal screw angle. In subgroup analysis, patients with high pelvic tilt (>20°) had a significantly lower cephalocaudal screw trajectory (24.9 ± 3.7° versus 29.8 ± 2.8°, p-value=<0.001) compared to those with a normal pelvic tilt (≤20°). Conclusions: This study found an inverse relationship between pelvic tilt and cephalocaudal S2AI screw trajectory. Therefore, the sagittal angle of insertion becomes increasingly more perpendicular to the floor (less caudally orientated) as pelvic tilt increases in reference to a patient positioned prone on an operating table parallel to the floor. This may bolster safety and efficacy when utilizing the free-hand technique for placement of the S2AI screw as it allows the surgeon to plan a more ideal trajectory by accounting for pelvic parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100014
JournalNorth American Spine Society Journal
StatePublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Free-hand
  • Pelvis
  • S2-alar-iliac
  • S2ai
  • Sacral
  • Sacropelvic fixation
  • Spine surgery


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