Simplified, Wear-Resistant Spinal Implant With Flexures

Technology #14285

Cost-Effective Implant Does Not Slide; Would Improve Patient Comfort

This non-sliding spinal implant will lead to better health outcomes while lowering the cost of back surgery. A wide variety of screws, plates, and cages have been used in spinal surgeries, with limited success. Undesired movement or breakage of these parts can cause intense back pain and necessitate additional surgeries. Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a non-sliding spinal implant that overcomes wear-related (tribological) problems associated with complex multi-component designs. This simplified implant, which is less likely to break or slip, is designed to maximize patients' flexibility and comfort. The U.S. spinal-implant market is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2021.

Application

A simplified non-sliding spinal implant that prevents wear-related (tribological) problems to improve patient health outcomes

Advantages

  • Comprised of only one part, resulting in an elegant and cost-effective design
  • Prevents wear by removing sliding interfaces, improving long-term success in the body
  • Allows for a fuller range of motion, providing flexibility similar to that of natural vertebrae

Technology

University of Florida researchers have developed a non-sliding spinal implant that solves tribological problems inherent to many devices now on the market. By removing the possibility of friction and wear, the implant protects healthy tissue from damage. It is designed as a single piece, which eliminates the risk of catastrophic failure associated with sliding or rotating interfaces (e.g. metal on non-metal). The device does not include sliding contacts, relying instead upon flexure mechanics. In simplest terms, it is a monolithic component comprised of two caps joined by a series of flexures and springs to result in desired degrees of freedom and mobility. The caps house hard stops that set the translational limit of the implant. The design allows six degrees of freedom to simulate the full range of motion that is expected of natural spinal vertebrae.