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AANS Update: Innovative Medical Devices for Neurosurgery

By Tricia Rodewald, Marketing Director at Pro-Dex Inc.

While aneurysms and medical technologies that help treat brain aneurysms are a common theme at this year’s American Academy of Neurosurgeons (AANS) Annual Meeting, innovations in screws and plates remain strong.

A few notable companies and their medical technologies that were highlighted at AANS’ New Innovations in Neurosurgery presentation are:

Biomet’s C-Tek Anterior Cervical Plate System. The system is intended for anterior interbody screw fixation of the cervical spine and is indicated for use in the temporary stabilization of the anterior spine from C2 to C7. The system’s low profile, contoured plates accommodate normal cervical lordosis and reduce soft tissue irritation and offers surgeons different options for plating with various screws and loads.

Biomet’s Zyston Curve Interbody Spacer System also was introduced. The device was developed to enable simple insertion and accurate placement of a Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) graft in the proper anatomical position. The company claims that the device's controlled articulating mechanism design allows for improved visualization and more control when navigating variable angles during a complex surgical procedure.

Above: Biomet's Zyston Device.

Covidien’s DuraSeal Spine Sealant System is another spotlighted technology at this year's meeting.

“Covidien made changes to DuraSeal so that it expands less,” explained neurosurgeon, Carl B. Heilman, MD of Tufts Medical Center.

The DuraSeal Spine Sealant System is used in spinal surgery and applied over sutures (stitches) to prevent cerebrospinal fluid from leaking out of the incision site. The system’s sealant is composed of two solutions that, when mixed together, rapidly combine to form a sealant gel that seals the dura matter—the tough, outermost, fibrous membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord, and lines the inner surface of the skull.

The sealant’s blue color helps the surgeon see the sealant and its 90 percent water composition allows it to naturally break down and be absorbed within four to eight weeks, enough time to allow for healing.

Globus Medical’s Caliber lumbar fusion device "optimizes endplate-to-endplate fit and minimizes insertion force," according to the company. By expanding higher in the front than in the back, it helps reduce the amount of nerve root retraction required and preserve musculoskeletal composition.

The Caliber system from Globus Medical, above.

Another innovative device by Globus is its SP-Fix, a spinous process fixation device designed to provide structural stability, preserve the supraspinous ligament, and reduces stress at the fused level.

Integra LifeSciences’ new CUSA EXcel+ System was another standout technology. The system builds upon the features of their CUSA EXcel by adding elements that support a broad selection of handpieces and surgical tips, enabling the surgeon to select the most appropriate combination based on the surgical procedure. The CUSA EXcel+ offers surgeons a simple solution to fragment bone using localized ultrasound stress and cavitation instead of mechanical abrasion, company officials noted.

Medtronic Inc. recently launched its new Powerease System, which is touted to reduce surgeon fatigue by offering more controlled placement and less wobble. Testing showed wobble is reduced by 43 percent when tapping and 38 percent when placing pedicle screws. According to a Medtronic statement, the patented system also cuts down the time required to insert spinal screws by more than 50 percent.

And last, but certainly not least, Synthes (which was recently given the OK from European regulators to become part of JNJ) released its Zero P and Prodisc-C Nova devices.

Zero P acts as a standalone implant for use in cervical interbody fusions. Its design combines the functionality of a cervical interbody spacer and the benefits of an anterior cervical plate. Because plate and spacer are preassembled, the plate is automatically aligned upon implant insertion.

The Zero P system from Synthes.

According to the company's technique guide, the implant is contained within the excised disc space and does not protrude past the anterior wall of the vertebral body as do anterior cervical plates. In addition, preparation of the anterior surface of the vertebral body is minimized because the implant does not lie against this surface.

Prodisc-C Nova implants are used to replace a cervical intervertebral disc and to restore disc height and segmental motion. According to study results released by the firm, ProDisc-C Nova’s updated keel design better enables multi-level implantation, and is optimal for patients requiring multi-level surgery.

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