Tags: Medical | Advances | From | the | Battlefield

Medical Advances From the Battlefield

Monday, 23 May 2005 12:00 AM

The company offers an array of designs, technologies and instruments for treating fractures of the long bones, hips and spine, and for replacing intervertebral discs that are narrowed by degenerative disc disease. These treatments are less intrusive, safer and easier to use for both the patient and doctor than the older, more conventional means.

Disc-O-Tech was founded in 1998 in Israel by four men with entrepeneurial backgrounds, to develop less invasive implants by using patented technologies in the fields of metal folding and expansion.

Much of their interest derived from the need to treat wounded Israeli soldiers and civilians. They also benefited from Israel's shift away from a socialist toward a capitalist system, at least in part. Today their headquarters is in Herzliya, outside Tel Aviv. They also have offices in New Jersey under the name "Disc Orthopaedic Technologies, Inc." and in Europe (Muenster, Germany).

Although this column is not intended to be a primer in surgery, let's glimpse at two of the innovations and their proposed benefits.

The fixation nails are inserted in a reduced diameter into a fractured long bone (humerus, tibia or femur) and, once positioned, are expanded within the bony medullary canal (inside portion of bone) using pressurized saline solution.

The expansion enables the nail to adapt to the shape and diameter of the medullary canal for optimal stability. The surgical procedure is less intrusive than those currently used. The inside of the bone does not have to be scraped out. Operating time, fluoroscopy time and X-ray exposure are significantly reduced. Removal of the nail, if necessary, is easier as the nail is deflated during extraction.

The expandable spinal system is intended for use in lumbar spinal fusion procedures in patients with degenerative disc disease at one or two levels, from L2 to S1. The implant - preloaded on its delivery system - is introduced into the intervertebral disc space in a reduced configuration of 5 mm diameter. It is then expanded up to 15 mm once it is ideally positioned within the space. The system is available in different sizes.

Its advantages include minimal surgical dissection, resulting in less harm to the surrounding tissues and enabling preservation of the anatomical structures of the spine; reduced neurological (spinal cord and nerve root) and infection risk; reduced operating room time and hospitalization period; and easiy removal if necessary.

Dasha Bezoza is the U.S. point of contact and office manager at the company's offices in New Jersey. Originally from Israel, she came to the United States in the 1950s and subsequently worked as a scientist with the original Bell Laboratory R&D group. In a second, post-retirement career, she was recruited by Disc-0-Tech (www.disc-o-tech.com).

Notes Bezoza: "Hospitals, administrators, surgical head nurses and specialized surgeons from all over the country call regularly to inquire about our products. They are excited about the advances and want the products now."

A few of the the hospitals and clinics where the devices are now FDA-approved for use or investigational usage include California (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Long Beach, Palm Springs); Texas (McAllan); Kentucky (Louisville); Iowa (Waterloo); Illinois (Chicago); Alabama (University of Alabama); Georgia; Jamaica; Europe and China.

"The market is now worldwide," comments Bezoza.

Ironically, as a consequence of bomb brutality, metal maiming and penetrating pain come advances in surgical treatments. Hopefully, if the world had but one wish, it would be for the warriors to turn their bombs and guns into medical and surgical cures for all patients of all ages and all nations.

Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a Senior Fellow and Board Member of the Discovery Institute and a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple-award-winning writer who comments on medical-legal issues.

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The company offers an array of designs, technologies and instruments for treating fractures of the long bones, hips and spine, and for replacing intervertebral discs that are narrowed by degenerative disc disease. These treatments are less intrusive, safer and easier...
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2005-00-23
Monday, 23 May 2005 12:00 AM
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