St. Francis Medical: Staking Ground in Dynamic Stabilization
Spine, one of the device industry's hottest, most fertile segments, has a history of quick adoption and quick retrenchment (read spinal cages) and standards of care that are anything but gold standards. Perhaps the most interesting example of spine's ambivalent attitude toward technology is artificial discs. Artificial discs caught fire a couple of years ago in the US and promised to be the device industry's next blockbuster technology. But before the first-generation discs had even made it to market, spine surgeons-and the companies that develop new technology-were already onto the next big thing: dynamic stabilization devices, which fall somewhere between the motion-preserving qualities of disc replacement and the stabilization that cages offer. Dynamic stabilization devices are too new for their role in treating spine problems to be fully assessed, but a host of companies are already lining up. One of the first: St. Francis Medical Technologies, which after a difficult struggle with the FDA to get its device approved, is ready to take on the US market and test the potential of at least one category of dynamic stabilization devices: interspinous spacer devices.
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