January 26, 2003

The small five millimeter titanium chip is inserted through a small incision between the vertebrae.A five millimeter-wide titanium chip developed in Israel repositions the spine alleviating chronic back pain. This new technology eliminates the need for complicated spinal surgery, increases chances of relieving back pain, and lessens the risks for the patients. More than 800 operations worldwide have been performed using the new technique.

In the United States approximately ninety million people suffer from chronic back pain, with an estimated cost exceeding $125 billion annually in health care, disability compensation, lost productivity, and lost tax revenue.

The device, developed by a team at the Spinal Care Unit at the Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, is a small five millimeter titanium chip that is inserted through a small incision between the vertebrae. Once in the body, the chip expands up to 20 millimeters (approximately 0.78 inches) like an umbrella. This process repositions the spine to its correct placement.

Until now, the surgical procedure generally used to reposition the spine has beeb much more complicated due to the large incision necessary for the surgeon to insert poles and screws. It has also been known to endanger tissue in the area and the patient faces a longer hospitalization period. But according to the developers of the new Israeli technique, that danger is no longer relevant.

“This Israeli invention is extremely significant and is totally different than any procedure being used today. It greatly increases the possibilities of improving on the results of spinal surgery,” said Dr. Reuven Gepstein, the head of the Spinal Care Unit which developed the chip.

“Because the instrument is so small it can be inserted to the spine through a small incision the size of 0.5 centimeters (approximately 0.2 inches).” said Gepstein. “Therefore, there are fewer risks.”

Gepstein added that the surgery is performed under a local anesthetic further reducing risks and complications.

Members of the Spinal Care Unit have recently been training many of their European counterparts who have flown to Meir Hospital to learn about the new method.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director