Scoliosis, an abnormal curve to the left or right of the spine, can be a disfiguring, painful and and health-threatening condition. When conservative treatment such as bracing fails, surgery is often the only option. While very effective, spinal fusions for scoliosis are long surgeries with large incisions and a sometime hefty amount of blood loss. Recently at the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) meeting last week, a team of surgeons announced some success with the current cutting edge (and controversial) “minimally invasive” spinal deformity correction surgical technique. The surgery uses several small incisions to expose a few spinal levels at a time instead of one massive incision. The investigators reported successful corrections and fusions in addition to reduced blood loss. Not to be left behind at the meeting, Depuy also announced the availability of their new spinal deformity correction set, the Viper 3D, with special tools for the minimally invasive approach.
The set features a special MIS Rod inserter, reduction lever, derotation and correction frames, and a multi-level compression/distraction device, all which should excite any spinal deformity surgeon. There is some skepticism in the community about the feasibility of this new approach, mainly surrounding the quality of the fusion obtained and the increased surgical time required. Hopefully companies such as Depuy will continue to refine their sets to make the MIS technique more widely accessible to surgeons and patients alike.