The role of spine fusion instrumentation is to provide additional spinal stability while helping the fusion set up.
Various forms of instrumentation (medical devices) have been developed with the goal of improving the rates of successful spinal fusion. Because bone tends to fuse more effectively in an environment where there is little motion, instrumentation helps the fusion set up by limiting the motion at the fused segment.
Spine Fusion Instrumentation Types
There are three primary types of spine surgery instrumentation: pedicle screws and anterior interbody cages, and posterior lumbar cages.
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- Pedicle screws provide a means of gripping onto a vertebral segment and limiting its motion.
- Anterior interbody cages are devices that are made to be inserted into the lumbar disc space through an anterior (from the front) approach. They can be made of allograft bone, titanium, or carbon/PEEK (radiolucent cages) (see Figure 1).
- Posterior lumbar cages are also made to be inserted into the lumbar disc space, but are modified to be inserted through a posterior (from the back) approach. They can be made out of the same materials as an anterior cage.