Update: Spinal Implant Breakthrough Stabilizes Spine
During the last 20 years the world of spine surgery has been revolutionized by the development of advanced spinal instrumentation systems. These systems use specially designed hooks, screws and rods to help stabilize the spine and to correct spinal disorders such as scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, and even spinal fractures.
At the most basic level, spinal instrumentation systems are used to help stabilize the spine and, on occasion, to correct deformities. Without advanced instrumentation, a surgeon?s ability to achieve the goal of spinal stabilization would be severely limited.
Instrumentation systems continue to develop and progress, as surgeons and engineers worldwide combine their expertise to achieve improvements. Surgeons make every effort to keep up-to-date with these advances, knowing that a significant improvement in a system may be of great help to their patients. While patients certainly do not need to understand all of these developments, many patients do express interest in learning about the implants and instruments that their surgeon will use to try to correct their spinal disorder. So, in the remainder of this article, I am going to provide you with a ?layman?s guide? to one of the most advanced and widely used spinal instrumentation systems: TSRH-3D™
Diagnosing the Cause
In the United States approximately 50 million people are affected by back pain. The causes of low back pain are multi-faceted. A herniated disc or spinal stenosis may trap nerve roots exiting the spinal column. Spondylolisthesis or degenerative disorders affecting the facet joints may cause the spine to become unstable. To help diagnose the disorder x-rays, CT scans and MRIs are commonly performed to determine if the patient?s symptoms correlate to test findings.
Although the majority of patients suffering back pain respond well to non-surgical treatment such as medication and physical therapy, a small percentage will require spine surgery. Indications for spine surgery include nerve dysfunction, spinal deformity and structural instability.
Surgery and Instrumentation Systems that are Used
Once the decision has been made for a patient to undergo surgery, the surgeon will carefully select the type of procedure to do, and will decide if spinal instrumentation will be needed. One of the newest and most popular spinal instrumentation systems used by surgeons is TSRH-3D™.
The break-through associated with TSRH-3D™ is its uniquely designed pedicle screw. Pedicle screws are implants used in the thoracic and lumbar spine to help surgeons stabilize the spine. The TSRH-3D™ pedicle screw has a remarkable ?headless? design. It has proven to be one of the smallest yet strongest spinal implants available today. The screws were designed using the most advanced engineering technology and finite-element-analysis (FEA). FEA has shown the remarkable structural integrity and strength of the screws.
Surgeons like the headless pedicle screws for several reasons, including:
- Design. The headless screw design makes it easier for the surgeon to implant the pedicle screw while avoiding the facet joint.
- Flexibility. Three-dimensional (3-D) means implant flexibility.
- Versatility. Adjusts for anatomical differences in patients.
- Unlike older screw designs, TSRH-3D™ allows the surgeon to manipulate the lumbar spine to help restore normal contour. When the surgeon is satisfied with re-positioning of the lumbar spine, the components are locked into place.
- TSRH-3D™ pedicle screws can be implanted at each spinal level regardless of the extent of the deformity.
- Spine fixation using TSRH-3D™ reduces the amount of motion between two vertebral segments. A stable construct facilitates fusion.
- Operating time and post-operative pain is reduced.
More than 13,000 patients have been successfully treated using TSRH-3D™ spinal instrumentation. The implant's ease-of-use has been recognized by many surgeons. The advantages of this implant equates to less operating time, fewer complications and faster recoveries for patients.
As I mentioned earlier, it is not essential for patients to understand all of the advanced technology that is used in spine surgery. However, I hope that this article has given you an insight into the continual process of improvement pursued by surgeons and engineers to ensure that patients receive the very best treatment possible.