On Saturday, December 13, 2014, another spine surgeon from Texas Back Institute made history. Dr. John Peloza performed the first FLXfit™ surgery in the United States, implanting one of the world’s first 3D expandable interbody cage. This surgery is a dramatic evolution of minimally invasive, spinal fusion procedure. How does this differ from the traditional fusion surgery?
“The FLXfit™ Expandable Cage is an improvement because it covers a large surface area of the disc space and it expands in the front of the disc space, creating lordosis,” Dr. Peloza notes. “This is one of the first intradiscal devices that does this through a minimally invasive approach.”
“What makes it unique is that it can go in through a tube,” he said. “Therefore, it works with a very minimally invasive approach, allowing for less muscle damage and quicker recovery for the patient.”
This animation shows how the FLXfit™ 3-D Expandable Cage is used for spinal fusion.
Fusion Surgery Was Necessary for This Patient
Like all patients at Texas Back Institute, the patient in this ground-breaking procedure was carefully evaluated before the procedure was undertaken. The patient failed conservative care options, therefore, surgery was their last option.
“This patient had an indication for spinal fusion,” Dr. Peloza notes. “She had instability because the posterior arch of her spine had a defect causing the spine to slip, called spondylolithesis, and this makes it suitable for a fusion procedure. She also had narrowing around the nerves in her spine, called stenosis.”
“By using tube retractors, we were able to open up the area of the spinal canal, taking pressure off her nerves and then stabilizing the disc space with this implant to establish a balance in the spine,” he said. “We were able to accomplish all the goals of a regular, more invasive fusion procedure all through a small tubular retractor.”
After a brief period of recovery, the patient is expected to be up and around in a matter of a few days.
This recovery is considerably shorter than that of a traditional fusion surgery.
“We know from experience that with this minimally invasive approach there is less operative time,” Dr. Peloza said. “There is also less blood loss, less tissue and muscle damage, less pain for the patient and all with good outcome data for the long-term.”
“Like a Ship in a Bottle”
Dr. Peloza was proud of the opportunity to perform this historic procedure. Click here for his thoughts on the experience.
Technology: A Means to an End
For over thirty-five years, Texas Back Institute has been one of the largest freestanding multidisciplinary academic spine centers in the world. It utilizes the latest technological advancements and medical breakthroughs, leading and participating in numerous FDA trials, developing surgeons through its fellowship program and employing an expert medical team and compassionate support staff.
Cutting edge technology such as the FLXfit™ Expandable Cage procedure is merely a means to an end. Texas Back Institute remains dedicated to helping patients get back to life. If you would like to discuss your back pain or injury with Dr. Peloza or one of our other specialists, just click here.