Medtronic debuts new spinal fusion procedure

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Medtronic Inc.    has introduced a new spinal surgery product which the company says improves on current methods of spinal fusion surgery.

The product, called MAST MIDLF, uses smaller incisions to access the spine through the lower back. Smaller incisions reduce the risk of damage to muscles and tendons in the back that aren’t involved in the original injury.

The MAST MIDLF system uses retractors and bone screws and a navigational system that also improves the accuracy of implant placement, which cuts down on potential injury to nerves. It was presented Wednesday during the 26th annual meeting of the North American Spine Society in Chicago,

According to a statement from Medtronic (NYSE: MDT), more than 250,000 spinal fusion surgeries are performed annually in the U.S. The fusions are used to treat degenerative changes in the lumbar spine. Minimally invasive surgeries also have shorter recovery times, which result in shorter hospital stays for patients.

“A midline approach offers surgeons a number of benefits in addressing the challenges associated with decompression as well as sacral fixation in the lumbar or lower spine,” Richard Hynes, a spine surgeon at The B.A.C.K. Center in Melbourne, Fla., said in a statement.

Fridley, Minn.-based Medtronic employs about 1,500 people at its Memphis-based spinal and biologics division.

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