LAFAYETTE, Indiana - Franciscan Health Lafayette East is now using a new medical device created with an advanced additive manufacturing technology, also known as 3-D printing. The Tritanium Posterior Lumbar (PL) Cage from Styrker is used in Franciscan Health Lafayette East's lumbar spinal fusion treatment for patients with degenerative disc disease and other spinal conditions.
The Tritanium PL Cage is a hollow rectangular device that is placed between the disc space, along with a bone graft, to help restore and maintain normal spacing between the vertebrae, and to stabilize the spine. The cage is constructed using Tritanium – a propriety technology from Stryker. Tritanium is a highly porous titanium alloy material designed for growth of replacement of bone.
In contrast to traditional manufacturing methods, 3-D additive manufacturing is a process that creates three-dimensional objects by adding layer upon layer of material. Guided by special computer-aided design software, a focused laser beam melts layers of titanium particles, essentially “growing” the device from the bottom up. The technology gives Stryker the ability to create one of a kind porous structures from a material that resembles cancellous bone, a type of spongy bone tissue.
The Tritanium PL Cage provides a new option for the thousands of Americans who suffer from low back pain due to degenerative disc disease and other conditions. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, an estimated 75 to 85 percent of all Americans will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime. Degenerative disc disease in the lower back (lumbar spine) is a common cause. At least 30 percent of people 30 to 50 years of age will have some degree of disc degeneration.
"Technology for spinal surgery has had another revolutionary breakthrough with improved materials and 3-D printing. Newer implants, such as Tritanium, more closely mimic normal bone biology and allow for better and quicker healing," said Mario Brkaric, MD, a board certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon. Dr. Brkaric is an independent physician who chooses to practice at Franciscan Health Lafayette East.