Medtronic unveils procedure for minimally invasive spinal fusion

Medtronic ($MDT) has introduced what it calls a pioneering approach to minimally invasive spinal fusion that eliminates the need for surgeons to work through a tubular retractor.

The MAST MIDLF procedure uses a proprietary retractor and cortical bone screw fixation with Medtronic's surgical platform of interbody, navigation, neuromonitoring and biologic options. Known as a midline laminectomy approach, it allows for decreased exposure to radiation for hospital staff and physicians. It also allows for improved device placement accuracy to avoid injury to nerves.

"This surgical strategy enables a highly efficient, minimally invasive lumbar fusion, while allowing visualization of familiar posterior landmarks," said Dr. Richard Hynes, a spinal surgeon at The B.A.C.K. Center in Melbourne, FL, in a statement. "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."

The procedure is the latest advancement in a series of integrated procedural solutions that complements Medtronic Spinal's minimally invasive MAST portfolio. More than 250,000 individuals in the U.S. undergo spinal fusions annually to treat degenerative changes in the lumbar spine, according to a company release.

- get Medtronic's release

ALSO: Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak recently told Reuters that company executives had pondered whether different units of the devicemaker can perform better on their own. However, he specifically said he doesn't see an advantage in spinning off the company's spine business. Item