What is an Invisifuse Procedure?
Invisifuse refers to a medical implant device used in minimally invasive spinal fusion. It utilizes a small, biocompatible, chemically stable, and radiolucent non-metallic PEEK (polyetheretherketone) micro-implant. It has an elastic model similar to that of bone (Xinming et al., 2021). This technology can replace the traditional fusion that uses metallic screws and rods used in a surgical procedure called spinal fusion.
Surgeons perform Spinal fusion to “fuse” two or more vertebrae together and prevent their movements against each other. A vertebrae refers to one of the small bones of the back which collectively make up the backbone or vertebral column. Specialists suggest Spinal fusion for spinal conditions where movements of the vertebra against each other causes pain or instability to the patients.
Traditionally, spinal fusion required large incisions on the back or in the abdomen in order to gain access to the affected vertebra. Invisifuse technology utilizes minimally invasive spinal surgical procedures with the aid of small incisions (1 to 2 inches), and specialized instruments to access the area of the spine affected.
Invisifuse achieves the same stability as traditional spinal fusion with the added benefits of a faster recovery time and shorter hospital stay (Ng & Cheung (2017).
What Conditions Can Benefit From an Invisifuse Procedure?
Neurosurgeons recommend Spine surgery only when nonsurgical treatments — such as medications and physical therapy — have failed to relieve the painful symptoms caused by the condition. Some indications of Invisifuse procedure includes;
- Herniated disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Spinal instability
- Discogenic pain
- Vertebral fracture
- Posterior rami syndrome
- Infection in the spine (Verdú-López et al., 2017)
Neurosurgeons would not perform this surgery on arthritic conditions.
What are the Benefits of Invisifuse?
Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) aims for outcomes equivalent to or superior to open surgeries while minimizing tissue injury associated with open surgery. Some of the other benefits of MISS include;
- Minimal risk of surgical site infection.
- Less pain after surgery
- Faster wound healing
- Reduced blood loss
- Early recovery and shorter hospital stay.
Who is a Candidate for an Invisifuse Procedure?
The neurosurgeon would usually perform this procedure on patients with a focal disease requiring only a small window of exposure. Additional factors often considered when choosing candidates for this procedure includes, the part of the spinal cord affected, the type of spinal condition and the overall health of the patient.
How should a Patient Prepare for an Invisifuse Procedure?
In preparation for the procedure, an overnight fast which should be 8-12 hours long is often recommended. This reduces the risk of anesthetic complications.
Patients need to stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS) and blood thinners for at least a week prior to the surgery. The neurosurgeon will also have the patient undergo imaging studies like X-rays, CT and MRI scans prior to surgery.
How does a Fort Worth Neurosurgeon perform an Invisifuse Procedure?
The anesthesiologist will decide between regional anesthesia and general anesthesia. Regional anesthesia numbs a part of the patient’s body but keeps the patient awake. When an anesthesiologist uses regional anesthesia, the specialist also mildly sedates the patients to make the patient less anxious and more relaxed during the surgery. More frequently, the anesthesiologist will use general anesthesia. This prevents pain and causes the patients to sleep through the surgery.
The anesthesiologist carefully monitors the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation during the surgery. The anesthesiologist might also insert a breathing tube to ensure adequate ventilation during surgery.
The surgeon will give the patient antibiotics before, during and after the surgery to help prevent infection.
During the procedure, your neurosurgeon will use a special type of X-ray (fluoroscopy) to view the surgery.
The neurosurgeon can access the spine from the back, through the abdomen, or from the side depending on the location of the pathology. The neurosurgeon will make a small incision in the entry point and put a tubular retractor into this incision to expose the operation site.
Next, the surgeon passes small tools through this retractor and makes the needed repairs using the Invisifuse implant.
Once the neurosurgeon completes the repairs, the surgeon removes the instruments from the patient and finally sutures the muscles and skin.
How long does an Invisifuse Procedure typically take?
Most procedures take 1-3 hours. The duration of the procedure depends on the number of levels operated on and complications encountered during surgery.
What are the possible Complications?
Performing the Invisifuse procedure reduces the risk of certain complications such as infection, bleeding and chronic pain. However, the neurosurgeon would take steps to prevent or minimize other complications such as nerve damage and blood clots which form in the legs. A clot can pose a significant danger if the clot dislodges and travels to the lungs.
What does recovery from Invisifuse Procedure look like?
After surgery, the neurosurgeon observes the patient for a few hours while the patient recovers from anesthesia. The surgeon also watches for any immediate postoperative complications.
A specialist will also provide adequate pain management to significantly reduce or totally eliminate the pain.
The surgeon might discharge the patient home on the same day or in 2-3 days. A caregiver would have to drive the patient home upon discharge.
The physician will prescribe antibiotics to ensure the incision site stays free of infection, as well as provide instructions to the patient on how to keep the area clean during the healing process.
The neurosurgeon might prescribe a brace which prevents certain kinds of movements during recovery. The surgeon will also recommend physical therapy where the physiotherapist helps the patient regain muscle strength. The physiotherapist also teaches the patient proper standing, sitting and walking posture.
Patients often return to their regular activities within a few weeks.
- Xinming, G., Xiaolin, S., Yue, S., Jia, W., Yiping, L., Kaixuan Y., Yao, W. and Yanmin, Z., (2021). Bioinspired Modifications of PEEK Implants for Bone Tissue Engineering. Department of Oral Implantology, Hospital of Stomatology, Jilin University, Changchun, China. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fbioe.2020.631616/full
- Verdú-López, F., Vanaclocha-Vanaclocha, V., & Mayorga-Villa, J. D. (2017). Minimally invasive spine surgery in spinal infections. Journal of neurosurgical sciences, 61(3), 303–315. https://doi.org/10.23736/S0390-5616.16.03911-4
- Ng, K., & Cheung, J. (2017). Is minimally invasive surgery superior to open surgery for treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis? A systematic review. Journal of orthopedic surgery (Hong Kong), 25(2), 2309499017716254. https://doi.org/10.1177/2309499017716254