Biomaterial of the Month

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Date: August 29, 2006
Tom Webster (Thomas_Webster@brown.edu)

Spinal Screw

Legend : Pictured here is a spinal screw which is use to join broken or fractured pieces of the spine.

A spinal fixation device (such as a spinal screw) is one in which sleeves or spacers are placed over or around spinal rods in order to obtain better reduction of spinal fractures or spinal deformities. The sleeves can be made in various thicknesses so that the surgeon can obtain optimum fixation in each case. The sleeves can be made of any biologically compatible material.

A spinal fixation device is a resorbable interbody fusion device for use in spinal fixation. The device is composed of 25-100% bioresorbable or resorbable material. The interbody fusion device can be in any convenient form, such as a wedge, screw or cage. Preferably, the resorbable component of the invention is in the shape of a tapered wedge or cone, which further desirably incorporates structural features such as serrations or threads so as to better anchor the device in the adjoining vertebrae. The preferred device further comprises a plurality of peripheral voids and more desirably a central void space therein, which may desirably be filled with a grafting material for facilitating bony development and/or spinal fusion, such as an autologous grafting material.

[Obtained in part from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinal_Fixation_Devices- students/learners can click on this to read more]