Weishi Liang, Bo Han, Junrui Jonathan Hai, Yong Hai, Long Chen, Nan Kang, Peng Yin

May 2021, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 1173 - 1183 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-021-06739-x

First Online: 08 February 2021

3D-printed drill guide template, a promising tool to improve pedicle screw placement accuracy in spinal deformity surgery: A systematic review and meta-analysis


This study aimed to compare the pedicle screw placement accuracy and surgical outcomes between 3D-printed (3DP) drill guide template technique and freehand technique in spinal deformity surgery.


A comprehensive systematic literature search of databases (PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science) was conducted. The meta-analysis compared the pedicle screw placement accuracy and other important surgical outcomes between the two techniques.


A total of seven studies were included in the meta-analysis, comprising 87 patients with 1384 pedicle screws placed by 3DP drill guide templates and 88 patients with 1392 pedicle screws placed by freehand technique. The meta-analysis results revealed that the 3DP template technique was significantly more accurate than the freehand technique to place pedicle screws and had a higher rate of excellently placed screws (OR 2.22, P < 0.001) and qualifiedly placed screws (OR 3.66, P < 0.001), and a lower rate of poorly placed screws (OR 0.23, P < 0.001). The mean placement time per screw (WMD–1.99, P < 0.05), total screw placement time (WMD–27.86, P < 0.001), and blood loss (WMD–104.58, P < 0.05) were significantly reduced in the 3DP template group compared with the freehand group. Moreover, there was no significant statistical difference between the two techniques in terms of the operation time and correction rate of main bend curve.


This study demonstrated that the 3DP drill guide template was a promising tool for assisting the pedicle screw placement in spinal deformity surgery and deserved further promotion.

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