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VOL. 126 | NO. 233 | Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Medtronic Launches New Spinal Product

By Aisling Maki

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Medtronic Inc. has launched a new product designed to provide spinal stabilization and correction in patients suffering from a traumatic or tumor-related disorder.

The Minneapolis-based company, the world’s largest medical device maker, maintains its Spinal & Biologics Business at 1800 Pyramid Place in Memphis.

The launch of the T2 Altitude Expandable Corpectomy Device in the U.S. and Europe was announced earlier this month at the North American Spine Society’s 26th annual meeting in Chicago.

The T2 device, intended for use in the thoracolumbar spine, features a self-locking mechanism that eliminates the need for placing a set screw during surgery. It can be filled with bone graft after insertion and also after expansion, creating bone contact with the end plate and the opportunity for fusion to occur inside the device.

“We continue to deliver on our long-term commitment to therapies for complex spine disorders for spinal tumor, trauma and deformity patients. T2 Altitude is a new option for surgeons who perform corpectomies, including through the use of minimally invasive techniques.”

–Doug King
Medtronic Senior Vice President and President, Medtronic Spinal

It comes in multiple sizes, allowing surgeons the flexibility to accommodate the various needs of trauma or tumor patients, and can be inserted from a posterior, anterior or lateral angle.

“We continue to deliver on our long-term commitment to therapies for complex spine disorders for spinal tumor, trauma and deformity patients,” Doug King, senior vice president and president of Medtronic Spinal, said in a statement. “T2 Altitude is a new option for surgeons who perform corpectomies, including through the use of minimally invasive techniques.”

The device is compatible with Medtronic’s proprietary minimally invasive technologies, known as MAST, as well as the company’s CD Horizon Solera Spinal System and other Medtronic systems.

The company said possible risks associated with the newly launched device include, early or late loosening of the components and implant migration and the possible disassembly, bending or breakage of any or all components.

Medtronic says more than 150,000 spinal fractures occur annually in North America. An estimated 10,000 to 12,000 spinal cord injuries take place each year, with roughly 39 percent caused by motor vehicle accidents. Non-elective or trauma surgeries sometimes require additional spinal structural support from devices such as Medtronic’s newest.

The T2 Altitude Expandable Corpectomy Device can also be used in the treatment of cancer patients. If cancers metastasize or spread in the spine, surgeons may decide to remove the affected vertebrae and replace them with such a device.

The T2 device is equipped with the Verifyi Implant Tracking System, a unique device identification system that supports hospital-specific quality management and provides customers with data on using the device.

Medtronic’s Memphis-based Spinal &Biologics Business offers products and technologies for neurological, orthopedic and spinal conditions.

The company Nov. 22 reported Spinal revenue for the second quarter fell 3 percent to $839 million. Tighter hospital budgets, fewer procedures and safety concerns have led physicians to implant fewer devices in patients, resulting in sluggish spinal sales.

Medtronic, however, reported higher-than-expected overall earnings in the second quarter, driven by sales of newer devices.

Overall revenue rose 3 percent to $4.13 billion in the second quarter of fiscal year 2012, as compared to $3.9 billion in Q2. The company reported that increase was helped by sales of heart valves, stints and other upgraded products.

International sales rose 6 percent to $1.83 billion in Q2, accounting for 44 percent of the company’s global sales in Q2. Emerging market revenue increased 21 percent to $414 million.

“I’m pleased we delivered another quarter of consistent growth in a difficult environment,” Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak, who took over executive leadership of the company in June, said in a statement. “A majority of our businesses, and nearly all of our geographies, contributed to this growth. As we continue to focus on innovation, globalization and execution, I see tremendous opportunities for growth in the future.”

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