May 15, 2017

Spinal Fusion: From Challenges to Change

It’s no secret that the aging baby boomer generation is having a direct impact on multiple facets of the healthcare landscape. On one hand, boomers present the healthcare industry with new medical challenges, but on the other hand, new medical challenges are exactly what help spur thoughtful, innovative technologies and interventions that are scientifically sound and beneficial for patients.

In short, challenges often drive improvements… there’s always a silver lining.

Chronic and severe back pain is one such medical challenge that continues to be on the rise. With more than 400,000 spinal fusion surgeries conducted in the U.S. annually, there are still large gaps in care, despite advances in spinal fusion practices.

Pinnacle Spine Group was founded on the basis that more can be done for patients and surgeons. The best advances in medical care sometimes start with a single, perhaps simple, idea. However, we know that collaboration with like-minded professionals is critical to ensuring these ideas are thoroughly vetted, and often scrutinized, so that they can ultimately morph from an idea into action and eventually positive change.

Pinnacle was born from one of these simple ideas… back in 2009, one of our founding partners, Russell W. Nelson, M.D, acknowledged that, while techniques and approaches around disc and endplate preparation and placement of critical bone mass have evolved, most spine surgeons weren’t optimizing bone graft volume in lateral lumbar fusion procedures, despite using well-established material like BMP-2, PRP or cellular allografts to improve fusion outcomes. Dr. Nelson knew there had to be a way to increase both the volume of bone graft and its coverage without significantly increasing costs.

And thus came the idea to design a fusion system allowing surgeons better direction and control over graft delivery.

In collaboration with other experts in the field, we developed the solution – the InFill® Interbody Fusion Systems, which address the universal challenge of more completely filling the “biologic void,” or the region of non-contact between the implant, bone graft and the vertebral endplates, in lumbar spine fusion procedures. The key component to our system is its patented in situ graft delivery technology, which allows surgeons to fill the cage with bone graft after implantation, or to “top off” a pre-packed implanted cage with supplemental bone graft.

We’re extremely proud of this technology, but would be remiss to think there isn’t so much more that can be done in the field of spinal fusion. In a lot of ways, while we wholeheartedly believe our patented InFill Systems are a critical contribution, we know we’ve only scratched the surface in attacking the challenges that patients and surgeons face.

So, we’ve decided to do something about that by creating a forum for conversation… and our goals for this forum are simple:

  • to bring together a variety of experts to share best practices, challenges and beneficial spine surgery techniques.
  • to shed light on the nuances of spinal fusion procedures that pose challenges to both patients and surgeons and navigate ways to solutions.
  • to discuss new approaches to spinal fusion surgery and why surgeons should consider them.
  • to analyze traditional practices to determine what’s really tried and true and what has become obsolete.
  • to discuss optimal methods of training, from surgical and OR staff to post-op nurses and follow-up home care.

We’ll continue to post compelling topics for discussion and encourage you to join in the conversation.

We look forward to continuing to drive innovation in spinal fusion… stay tuned for more!