Wenzel Spine has announced that the first awake spinal fusion procedure using its VariLift-LX interbody implant has been performed.
The less invasive spine surgery (LISS) was performed without general anaesthesia by board-certified orthopaedic spine surgeon Ahmer Ghori, (Fort Wayne, USA). Ghori coined LISS to illustrate his minimalist approach consisting of a small midline incision for appropriate decompression and instrumentation under direct visualisation; combined with a spinal anaesthetic and an Erector Spinae Block for postoperative pain control, potentially allowing for same day discharge in select, medically appropriate cases.
According to Wenzel Spine, the VariLift-LX is the only US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared standalone lumbar interbody fusion device on the market that can be implanted without the need for supplemental fixation such as pedicle screw instrumentation. This expandable, low-profile device offers a true LISS or minimally invasive alternative for patients suffering from symptomatic grade one spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease, or adjacent segment disease.
“The ability to treat select spinal disorders solely with an interbody cage is a definitive advancement in our evolution from minimally invasive surgery, which still requires the same amount of hardware, to LISS and represents a distinct advantage over competing implants,” said Ghori. “This innovation allows us to provide same day surgical care in a hospital or ambulatory surgery centre.”
Ghori added that “this ‘less is more’ approach is often a better alternative for a subset of patients because it prioritises less instrumentation, anatomy preservation, and minimises postoperative morbidity.
“I remain very enthusiastic about LISS with VariLift and the potential benefit it provides my patients. My research interest is in defining the subset of fusion patients who may be candidates for this LISS alternative with VariLift, documenting the advantages but also studying the potential risks and disadvantages in the long term.”
Wenzel Spine CEO, Bill Wilson, commented: “Our Wenzel team is thrilled at the successful conduct of a VariLift-LX fusion and applaud Ahmer Ghori’s ongoing efforts and endorsement of our innovative technology.
“As we move forward we will work with surgeons to refine the surgical indications for outpatient spinal fusion with the VariLift-LX. This technology is demonstrating that through careful engineering and thoughtful application, patients are benefiting immensely from the reduced surgical time, potential elimination of general anaesthesia, and the ability to achieve same day discharge after a spine fusion in select patients.”