Cookeville Regional Medical Center is now using a new medical device created with an advanced additive manufacturing technology, also known as 3D printing, as part of its lumbar spinal fusion treatment options for patients with degenerative disc disease and other spinal conditions.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, an estimated 75–85 percent of all Americans will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime. The Tritanium PL Cage provides a new option for the thousands of Americans who suffer from debilitating low back pain due to degenerative disc disease and other conditions and it is now available for patients at CRMC.

With patients who have lumbar or cervical fusion procedures, a spinal implant, or “cage,” along with a bone graft, is inserted into the disc space. The Tritanium cage helps restore and maintain normal spacing between the vertebrae to stabilize the spine, along with supplemental fixation, while the bone grows together, fusing that section of the spine. According to CRMC neurosurgeon, the outcomes for patients will be better, and we are always searching for ways to continue providing high-quality patient care right here close to home.

Advances in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, pioneered by Stryker have led to the development of Tritanium, a novel, highly porous titanium material designed for bone in-growth and biological fixation. Tritanium’s porous structure is specifically engineered based on studies that have sought to understand which geometry and pore size would provide a favorable environment for cells to attach and multiply within the structure, in comparison to traditional titanium that is used.

The Tritanium PL Cage received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in November 2015 for use in skeletally mature patients with degenerative disc disease, as well as Grade I spondylolisthesis and degenerative scoliosis. Degenerative disc disease is defined as back pain originating in the disc with degeneration of the disc confirmed by history and radiographic studies.

For more information call Cookeville Regional Medical Center’s physician locator line at 931-783-2571.

Stryker Navigation

The Stryker Navigation technology for spinal surgery uses an infrared camera and instruments along with unique tracking software to assist in guiding surgeons through the delicate anatomy around the spinal cord.

“This new system allows us as surgeons to better pinpoint the positioning of surgical instruments against 3-D images of the patient’s spine while performing procedures,” said Joseph Jestus, MD, CRMC and Tier 1 Institute neurosurgeon. “We can see the site we are operating on with much finer clarity than with traditional techniques.”

Computer-assisted spinal surgery begins with a CT scan of the spine that shows the patient’s anatomy and reveals the location and extent of the abnormality. Scans are loaded into a computer that creates a virtual 3-D model of the patient’s spine. Surgeons identify “landmarks” that can be registered on the patient’s real anatomy and help determine the precise size and location of spinal implants to be inserted.

During surgery, the infrared camera communicates with the sensors mounted on the patient and on the instruments, and the tracking software continuously calculates and displays the location of the surgical instruments relative to the patient’s anatomy.

"Adding this technology enhances our spine surgery program that allows patients in our area to stay close to home for cutting-edge surgery that is typically only found in larger cities,” said Jestes. “Many of the spine surgeries we do today are minimally invasive with faster recovery times and shorter hospital stays.”

The spine surgery program at Cookeville Regional offers patients highly specialized surgeons and staff with state-of-the art knowledge and technology to treat those suffering from spinal disorders.