Radiolucent pedicle screw system offers alternatives for spinal tumour patients

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icotec has introduced its carbon/PEEK spinal system, offering radiotherapists, spinal surgeons and patients a treatment alternative to traditional, metal pedicle screws, thanks to its artefact-minimised planning and optimised application of radiation therapy to treat spinal tumours.

“For the first time, radiotherapists, spinal surgeons and patients have a revolutionary treatment alternative to traditional, metal pedicle screws,” says Roger Stadler, chief executive officer of icotec. “The icotec carbon/PEEK spinal system enables artefact-minimised planning and optimised application of radiation therapy to treat spinal tumours.”

Stadler continues, “This system has been CE-marked since 2013 and has successfully implanted over 500 carbon/PEEK pedicle screws in patients with degenerative spinal pathologies and spinal tumours. To substantiate the clinical benefits of this carbon/PEEK pedicle screw system, we have initiated a prospective, multicentre clinical study.”

For spinal tumour treatment, radiation therapy plays an important role in pain management, the local treatment of spinal tumours and the prevention of pathologic fractures. Before administering radiation therapy, the radiologist relies on accurate computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging images to plan the radiation dose. However, when metal spinal implants are present, they can create artefacts on the planning images, making it more difficult to delineate anatomic structures during radiation therapy planning and correctly calculate the proper dose distributions.

During radiation therapy, metal spinal implants may also shield remaining tumour cells from radiation. In addition, metal implants induce scattering of the radiation beams into the surrounding soft tissue potentially causing side effects. In some cases, patients may not be candidates for radiation therapy because of the presence of metal implants.

About 30% of all cancer patients will develop bone metastases and the spine is affected in approximately 70% of these patients. 

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