Background: The aim of our study was to assess how a preoperative computed tomography (CT)-based navigation system affected the correctness and safety of transpedicular screw insertion, compared with standard techniques. Method: Between January 2012 and February 2014, 203 patients underwent thoracic and lumbar fixation, with open and percutaneous techniques; 218 screws were implanted through an open navigated technique (1.0 Spine & Trauma 3d ver. 2.0 BrainLab, Feldkirchen Germany) in 43 patients; 220 screws were inserted with an open free-hand technique in 45 patients; 230 screws were implanted in 56 patients using percutaneous CT-based navigation; and 236 screws were inserted in 59 patients using a percutaneous fluoroscopy-guided technique. To our knowledge, this is the first work comparing these four different techniques. The position of each screw was evaluated on CT scan reconstruction and classified according to a four-point grading scale (grade 0: no breach, grade 1: breach < 2 mm, grade 2: breach between 2 and 4 mm; grade 3: breach >4 mm). Statistical analysis was assessed by two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) t test, while the Fisher least significant difference (LSD) method was employed to determine statistical significance. Results: Statistical analysis showed a significant difference in accuracy between the open CT-based navigation and the percutaneous CT-based navigation techniques (P= 0.0263) and between the open CT-based navigation and the percutaneous fluoroscopy-guided techniques (P=0.0258): a particular difference was observed in anterior misplacement between open CT-based navigation and the percutaneous fluoroscopy-guided technique (P= 0.0153). Conclusions: Our results confirm the advantages of the navigation technique, which ensures greater accuracy, in open as well as percutaneous procedures.