The vertebral column consists of tiny bones called vertebrae, stacked one on top of the other to protect the spinal cord. Abnormalities of the spine can compress on spinal nerves, resulting in pain and difficulty with movement. This condition is usually treated by surgically fusing adjacent vertebrae with the help of bone graft. Pins and screws are inserted in various regions of the vertebrae to support the bones as they fuse and heal. A transfacet pedicular fixation involves the insertion of screws through the facet joints (where adjacent vertebrae articulate) and pedicles (column that forms an arch of a vertebra) on either side.

Performed as a minimally invasive technique, transfacet pedicular fixation may be the primary source of fusion or supplement another spine fusion procedure. Healthy bone and well-formed pedicles and facet joints are essential for a transfacet pedicular fixation.

Before the procedure, the damaged vertebrae and their structures, and the appropriate length and angulation of screws to be used for fixation are determined. The procedure is carried out under local anesthesia with image guidance. An incision is made over the diseased vertebrae and a trocar is inserted to create a path through the facet joints of the upper vertebra into the pedicle of the lower vertebra. The same is done on the other side of the vertebrae. The trocars are removed, the screws are inserted through these paths and the incision is closed.

Following the procedure, you will remain in the hospital for 24 hours and should rest for at least 3 days before returning to your regular activities. Follow-up visits are scheduled to assess your pain, activity level, extent of fusion and position of the screws.

As with any procedure, transfacet pedicular fixation may be associated with certain complications which include nerve or blood vessel injury, misplaced screws and failure of fixation.