3D statistical modeling techniques to investigate the anatomy of the sacrum, its bone mass distribution, and the trans-sacral corridors



The complex anatomy of the sacrum makes surgical fracture fixation challenging. We developed statistical models to investigate sacral anatomy with special regard to trans-sacral implant fixation. We used computed tomographies of 20 intact adult pelves to establish 3D statistical models: a surface model of the sacrum and the trans-sacral corridor S1, including principal component analysis (PCA), and an averaged gray value model of the sacrum given in Hounsfield Units. PCA demonstrated large variability in sacral anatomy markedly affecting the diameters of the trans-sacral corridors. The configuration of the sacral alae and the vertical position of the auricular surfaces were important determinants of the trans-sacral corridor dimension on level S1. The statistical model of trans-sacral corridor S1 including the adjacent parts of the iliac bones showed main variation in length; however, the diameter was the main criterion for the surgically available corridor. The averaged gray value model revealed a distinct pattern of bone mass distribution with lower density particularly in the sacral alae. These advanced 3D statistical models provide a thorough anatomical understanding demonstrating the impact of sacral anatomy on positioning trans-sacral implants. © 2014 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 32:1543–1548, 2014.