Spinal Implants

Spinal implants are devices surgeons use during surgery to treat deformity, stabilize and strengthen the spine, and facilitate fusion.  Disorders treated using spinal implants include degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, kyphosis, spondylolisthesis, and fracture.

About Implants

Implants are made of materials that are biocompatible or body-friendly and capable of providing optimal spinal stabilization and strength.  In general, the types of implants may be classified as (1) fusion and (2) non-fusion.

  1. Fusion implants are combined with bone graft.
  2. Non-fusion implants are used without bone graft.

Examples of fusion implants:  rods, plates, screws, plates, interbody cages

Examples of non-fusion implants: growth sparing devices*, artificial discs

*Growth sparing devices are used in patients, such as children, who have not reached skeletal maturity.  Devices such as the Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib (VEPTR) may be used to treat scoliosis.

Implants are made from different materials such as titanium, titanium-alloy, stainless steel, and plastics.  Titanium implants are strong, light weight and can be imaged using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). 

Devices are manufactured in different sizes and shapes and some, such as rods, can be contoured during surgery to fit the patient’s anatomy.  Many implants, such as cervical plates, are low profile meaning they are not bulky and lay flatter against the spine’s anatomy.  Pedicle screws may be coated with a material to stimulate fusion.

Conclusion

Our surgeons utilize implants that are most suitable for each patient.  We are also involved in the research and development of new implants that will carry the field forward in the coming years.  We welcome your questions about your surgery and the use of spinal implants.