Improvements in the methods used to perform fusion surgery often increase the odds of experiencing meaningful relief for patients suffering from persistent back pain and discomfort. A new spinal fusion device out of Australia is among the recent advances in spinal surgery that may benefit both patients seeking relief and the surgeons performing the procedure.
Australian scientists have invented a screw-less and rod-less fusion device meant to replace the traditional hardware inserted with current procedures. The purpose of the Thru-Fuze, the name of the new device, is to encourage a successful fusion without the need for rods and screws. Scientists hope the new device will:
• Allow for simpler procedures • Eliminate the risk of causing further injury to the spine • Minimize radiation exposure from some of the instruments used during the procedure
The team behind the device points out that it can achieve spinal stability without the need for a bone graft, as is required with all current fusion surgery options available to patients. The Thru-Fuze is designed to allow a fusion to occur without the need for screws or rods, which would also eliminate the need to drill into the spine.
The device is designed to be placed between the problematic vertebrae in patients with conditions such as degenerative disc disease, the most common reason to proceed with fusion surgery. The result is what’s termed a bio-chemical fixation. In time, the device will serve as a connector with adjacent parts of the spine, allowing new bone to grow and fuse with the vertebra on the other side of the device.
Patients undergoing traditional spinal fusion surgery must have accompanying hardware installed as part of the procedure, including rods, screws and a cage system to increase spinal stability. The success of current fusion surgery is dependent upon whether or not the bone graft fully forms a bridge from one vertebra to another, a process that can take up to a year.
Approximately a quarter-million spinal fusions are performed each year to provide relief for patients not responding well to other treatments, a procedure that can be costly even when some expenses are covered by insurance. The new device may help reduce the cost of fusion surgery by eliminating the need for supporting hardware. The Thru-Fuze will soon be tested on humans in clinical trials.
Although Thru-Fuze won’t be available to the public for some time, there are a number of minimally invasive and motion-preserving spine surgeries that can provide meaningful relief. To learn more, please call The Spine Institute Center in Beverly Hills at (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation.