Did you know? Neck and low back pain are staggeringly expensive:
annual cost of neck and back pain in the United States
of the U.S. adult population visit a physician each year because of back pain
physician visits per year
Back pain is the fifth leading cause of hospital admission and the third most common reason for surgery. These rates will grow as the population ages, and this is a global problem – the United States represents less than a third of the market.
Spinal surgery has been used since the early 1900’s to treat back pain and neck spinal pain. However, surgery can be expensive and complicated, and generally is recommended only when conventional therapies such as physical therapy, exercise, traction, bed rest, braces and steroid and non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications have failed.
Spinal fusion is among the most common spinal surgeries performed today and is used primarily to eliminate the pain caused by abnormal motion of the vertebrae in a weak or unstable spine (caused by infections, tumors, or other degenerative conditions) and to treat spinal fractures. It is also used to treat spinal deformities such as scoliosis and kyphosis.
Spinal fusion is a surgical technique used to join two or more vertebrae. Spinal fusion works in conjunction with the body’s natural bone growth processes to set up a biological response that causes a bone graft. Using material implanted by the surgeon, the graft grows between the two vertebral elements and fuses the two together into one long bone, thereby stopping the motion that causes the pain. The fusion process typically takes six to twelve months after surgery to complete.
In most cases, spinal fusion is augmented by a process called fixation, which refers to the placement of permanent rigid or semi-rigid prosthetic devices made of titanium or other materials. These devices were developed in response to the need to limit compression on the bone graft and limit movement of affected vertebrae and stabilize them in order to facilitate bone fusion, without requiring the patient to be immobilized. These fusion/fixation devices include pedicle screws, rods or plates, cages constructed of PEEK (polyether ether ketone).
The Role of MIS
Since spine surgery frequently requires the use of implants to achieve surgical goals, most spinal endoscopy surgeries have been limited to epidural scar breakdown for pain control or for excision of fragments of herniated discs. Interbody Fusion procedures are quite invasive. The incision for a typical Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) is often larger than 12 inches. Nuvasive’s laterally delivered Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) requires an incision of at least 4 inches. No company has been able to achieve truly minimally invasive endoscopic Interbody fusion with the promise of a potential 8mm incision, mainly because of the inability to place an endoprosthesis or spinal implant down the working channel of an endoscope. As a consequence, spinal endoscopic surgery has lagged behind other endoscopic surgeries.
While MIS represents the future of spine surgery, none of the Interspinous Fusion Devices (ISP or Interbody) on the global market today can be delivered via an endoscope to achieve a true Endoscopic Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ELIF). Enter OZOP.
Minimally Invasive Procedures Offer Multiple Benefits
Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) is rapidly expanding. MIS is associated with smaller incisions and less damage to surrounding tissue, which means patients recover faster and have shorter hospital stays. MIS offers a host of additional benefits:
- Less damage to skin and muscle
- Less bleeding
- Lower incidence of postoperative infections
- Fewer complications
- Less scarring
- Lower cost compared with traditional open surgery
The results of MIS have been astounding. Average surgical time is shorter. Length of stay in hospital is lower. Time under anesthesia time is lower. VAS scores (a measure of pain) are lower. Estimated blood loss is lower. And direct hospital costs are lower.