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Minimally Invasive TLIF Techniques are More Lifestyle Friendly for Spinal Patients
May 6, 2005 - 6:33:38 PM

Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT), the leader in the development of minimally invasive spinal therapies, today announced the results of a study that shows rapid patient recovery time after a Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) procedure using the company's line of Minimal Access Spinal Technologies (MAST(SM)).

The TLIF procedure is a surgical option for patients who suffer from chronic back or leg pain. The causes of pain may range from natural degeneration of the disc space to some type of traumatic event. The study, published in the Journal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques, is the first study to present the results of a minimally invasive TLIF with a minimum of 18 months follow-up.

The major findings of the study include:

-- The average length of hospital stay was 1.9 days (compared to 3.79 days for traditional lumbar spinal fusion);

-- The technique reduced blood loss during surgery and no blood transfusions (a common occurrence in traditional fusion surgery) were needed for any patients;

-- All patients with mechanical low back pain noted improvement of their pain; and

-- Patients progressively increased their activity and resumed full activity at three months.

"We are very excited about these study results," said Michael DeMane, senior corporate vice president and president of Medtronic's Spinal, ENT, and Navigation divisions. "The results demonstrate that minimally invasive TLIF techniques may potentially offer a better, more lifestyle friendly surgical option to spinal patients."

Conducted by James Schwender, M.D. (Minneapolis), Langston Holly, M.D. (Los Angeles), David Rouben, M.D. (Louisville, Ky.) and Kevin Foley, M.D. (Memphis) between October 2001 and August 2002, the study, sponsored by Medtronic, evaluated 49 patients undergoing the MAST TLIF procedure. The technique incorporates use of the METRx(TM) Tubular Retractor System, PYRAMETRIX(R) ADVANCE Instrument Set and CD HORIZON(R) SEXTANT(TM) Spinal System.

"New minimally invasive technologies such as Medtronic's MAST therapies, that get patients out of the hospital sooner and back to work faster may reduce healthcare expenditures for patients undergoing spine surgery," reports James Schwender, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon at the Twin Cities Spine Center in Minneapolis. "Shortened hospital stays, reduced operating time and quicker patient recovery can benefit both hospitals and insurers."

During the TLIF procedure, a segment of bone and disc are removed from the lumbar spine (low back) and all of the bone tissue is then reinserted between the spinal vertebrae. Titanium or stainless steel screws and rods are inserted into the spine to ensure stability. The MAST TLIF technique optimizes the traditional surgical procedure used to approach the spine from the side. Medtronic's unique, minimally invasive instruments allow surgeons to operate with much smaller incisions, which cause less damage to the surrounding soft tissue.

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 MAST TLIF technique.

Degenerative disc disease, which affects approximately half of the population age 40 and older, 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, stabilizes the vertebrae to eliminate the pain caused by a degenerated disc.

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