Versatile spinal procedure may offer less muscle damage and quicker recovery times

Medtronic, Inc. has introduced at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) meeting in Orlando the latest advancement in the company’s line of Minimal Access Spinal Technologies (MASTSM), which offer surgeons the ability to treat conditions of the lumbar spine using less-invasive techniques.

The new technique, Versatile Lumbar Interbody Fixation (VLIF), optimizes the traditional surgical procedure used to approach the spine from the side or at an angle.

The VLIF technique allows surgeons to operate with much smaller incisions, more precision and less damage to the surrounding soft tissue.

These muscle-sparring techniques can mean less post-operative pain and a quicker recovery time for patients when compared to open procedures.

An open approach has traditionally been used to perform spinal fusion procedures, which involves making an incision along the middle of the back, stripping back muscles from the spine, and retracting the muscles to each side of the opening so that surgeons can view the spine and easily access the vertebrae for instrument implantation.

The VLIF technique incorporates use of the new PYRAMETRIX® ADVANCE Instrument Set in combination with the CD HORIZON® SEXTANT™ and METRx™ Spinal Systems.

These compatible surgical instruments allow surgeons to access the spine from many different angles in a manner that combines the reliability of conventional open surgery with the advantages of a minimally invasive technique.

Patients who suffer from chronic back and/or leg pain are potential candidates for the VLIF procedure. The causes of their pain may range from a natural degeneration of the disc space to some type of traumatic event.

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is part of the natural process of growing older. Discs are gel-like cushions that act as shock absorbers between each of the bones of the spine. As people age, their intervertebral discs lose their flexibility, elasticity and shock-absorbing characteristics. For approximately half of the population age 40 and over, this degeneration can cause a variety of symptoms, including back pain, nerve root pathology and spinal cord compression.

Spinal fusion, a surgery commonly used to treat degenerative disc disease after conservative treatments have failed, essentially “welds” two vertebrae together to eliminate the pain caused by a damaged disc. Introduced in 2000, the CD HORIZON SEXTANT Spinal System uses an innovative arc device to deliver screws and rods for spinal fusion.

The METRx System provides tissue-sparing access to the spine, while the PYRAMETRIX ADVANCE Instrument Set consists of a wide range of surgical instruments designed specifically for performing the VLIF technique.

Through the introduction of Minimal Access Spinal Technologies, Medtronic’s Spinal business has distinguished itself as a global leader in the pursuit of less invasive surgical techniques. These patient-focused techniques confirm the company’s commitment to equip surgeons with the best surgical tools and to provide patients with solutions that can help reduce pain and return them to fuller lives.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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