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Minimally invasive options for neuro spine procedures

Sextant Technique for Lumbar Fusion

Baptist Health Louisville neurosurgeons are using an advanced, minimally-invasive technology to perform spinal fusion procedures. The CD Horizon Sextant Spinal System allows specially-trained surgeons to use screws and rods to repair the back of the spine without the major muscle and tissue disruption encountered with traditional surgeries. As a result, patients are in the hospital for one to three days, compared with up to a week with open surgery, and there is less post-operative pain.

Spinal fusion is a process in which surgeons use bone grafts to cause two opposing vertebrae to grow or “weld” together. To ensure the vertebrae remain correctly positioned during fusion, surgeons place implants such as rods or screws in the spine. These implants help maintain spinal stability and are rarely removed.

The Sextant system is an implant system that features a mechanical device that looks much like the sextant used in naval navigation. This navigation device, along with other specially designed surgical tools, is used to insert and fuse screws and rods to the spine in a minimally invasive procedure.

The Sextant Spinal System can be used to correct deformity and bridge spaces created by the removal of damaged spinal elements such as discs. It can only be used for conditions affecting the lumbar spine, including:

  • Severe disc degeneration
  • Recurrent disc herniation
  • Misaligned vertebrae (spondylolisthesis)
  • Traumatic fracture

Traditional open surgery requires that surgeons make incisions up and down the middle of the back to apply the implants directly to the spine. During this approach, large bands of back muscles are stripped free from the spine and pulled off to each side for easy access and visualization. This stripping and retraction can cause considerable back pain, and the muscles, to some degree, are permanently scarred and damaged. The minimally invasive Sextant spinal fusion system eliminates the need for this and results in one-inch scars compared with six- to eight-inch scars necessary for traditional surgery.

Advantages of the minimally invasive Sextant technique for spinal fusion include:

  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Smaller scars
  • Shorter recovery periods
  • Less post-operative pain – no muscle cutting or stripping

Metrix Procedure for Discectomy

Baptist Health Louisville neurosurgeons are specially-trained in the latest minimally invasive procedures for back surgery, including lumbar discectomy and decompression. Surgeons use the high-tech Metrix system that allows them to perform delicate procedures using videoendoscopy to reach all segments of the spinal column during surgery.

With the aid of the Metrix system for minimally invasive surgery, surgeons can insert an endoscope through the muscles of the spine without needing to cut the muscles or detach them from the bone. In most cases, patients return to work within a week. Patients usually experience few complications and do not need to use pain and anti-inflammatory medicines for as long as those who have had traditional, open surgery.

The Metrix system is considered a simple, safe and fast procedure that offers several benefits to patients:

  • Faster operating time
  • Smaller incisions – less than 2 cm
  • Less scarring
  • Reduced blood loss during surgery
  • Cervical collar not required
  • Shorter hospital stay – most patients leave the same day
  • Quicker return to normal activities and work

For more information, or for a physician referral, call the Baptist Health Information Center at
(502) 897-8131.