This Blog Covers:
- According to Gizmag, scientists from Mayo Clinic have developed a less invasive and inexpensive alternative to expandable titanium rods for intervertebral disc removal.
- For patients suffering from metastatic cancer of the spine, intervertebral discs are often removed to help eradicate malignant spinal tumors.
- In this blog, the team at American Spine explains how this new technology will benefit spinal surgery patients.
The practice of medicine is an ever-evolving industry that sees a number of revolutionary technologies take shape. Scientists from Mayo Clinic recently developed a spinal graft made of a biodegradable polymer substance that works to fill in gaps of spines that have been affected by metastatic cancer. Patients diagnosed with metastatic cancer of the spine often benefit most from a combination of treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and minimally invasive spinal surgery.
In the case of spinal surgery for treatment, physicians will remove any tumors that are present and parts of the intervertebral disc that have been damaged by cancer. The nature of this surgery results in an empty space where an intervertebral spinal disc is supposed to be. As a result, physicians generally implant expandable titanium rods to restore spinal height and ensure proper healing.
Although this method is effective in restoring the height of the spinal column, it’s not ideal for a safe or quicker recovery time. According to the scientists from Mayo Clinic, this new spinal graft is a less invasive and less expensive version of the titanium rod. Interestingly, the spinal graft has many similarities to the ‘90s sponge-like toys called “Magic Growing Capsules” that expand when placed in water. The research team took this same idea and created a graft that expands to the appropriate size and shape of the missing intervertebral spinal disc.
According to the report, the spinal graft takes about 5 to 10 minutes to fully expand. Specifically, the implant is made from a biocompatible, hydrophilic polymer, which creates a hollow cage. After the graft is inserted in the body, it fills the space with various stabilizing materials and therapeutic drugs.
You may be wondering when the graft knows when to stop expanding. Scientists designed the device so that it expands as it takes on fluid, and they also ran a series of tests to ensure it didn’t take too long to expand—this ultimately helps avoid complications and cuts down on operation times.
The team at American Spine looks forward to learning more about this technology. Until then, we will continue to provide updates on its progress.
At American Spine, we are dedicated to treating chronic pain and spine conditions. Offering the latest in minimally invasive spine surgery and other effective treatment options, American Spine is the leading pain physician group of California. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (951)-734-PAIN (7246).
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.