Patent application title: Intervertebral Prosthetic Device For Spinal Stabilization and Method of Implanting Same
Kent M. Anderson (Memphis, TN, US)
WARSAW ORTHOPEDIC, INC.
IPC8 Class: AA61B1770FI
Class name: Spinal positioner or stabilizer spinous process implant spacer type
Publication date: 2012-03-15
Patent application number: 20120065684
A prosthetic device for insertion between first and second vertebrae
comprises a unitary body having posterior and anterior portions. The
posterior portion includes first and second flanges and the anterior
portion includes third and fourth flanges. The first and third flanges
form a first groove and the second and fourth flanges form a second
groove. The first and second grooves are configured to extend through the
sagittal plane when the body is disposed between first and second
1. An prosthetic device for insertion between first and second vertebrae,
the device comprising: a unitary body having a posterior portion and an
anterior portion; the posterior portion comprising a first upwardly
extending flange, a second downwardly extending flange, a first spinous
process receiving surface and a second spinous process receiving surface;
the anterior portion comprising a third upwardly extending flange and a
fourth downwardly extending flange; the first and third upwardly
extending flanges forming a first groove having an upwardly facing
concave surface; the second and fourth downwardly extending flanges
forming a second groove having a downwardly facing concave surface;
wherein the body is configured such that when the body is inserted
directly between the first and second vertebrae: the first and second
grooves extend through a sagittal plane defined by the first and second
vertebrae; wherein the body is configured such that when the body is
inserted between the first and second vertebrae and viewed normal to the
sagittal plane, a maximum point of the second groove is positioned
vertically above a maximum point of the second spinous process receiving
2. The device of claim 1 wherein the anterior portion includes a substantially planar anterior face.
3. The device of claim 1 wherein the first and second spinous process receiving surfaces are upwardly and downwardly extending notches respectively.
4. The device of claim 3 wherein the downwardly extending notch and the second groove are generally perpendicular with respect to each other.
5. The device of claim 3 wherein the upwardly extending notch is longer than the downwardly extending notch.
6. The device of claim 3 wherein the second groove is shallower than the downwardly extending notch.
7. The device of claim 1 wherein the first and second grooves are generally parallel.
8. The device of claim 1 wherein the body further comprises first and second conduits extending through the body member for engaging respective tethers for attaching the body member to at least one of the vertebra, the conduits extending generally parallel to the first and second grooves.
 This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/095,215, filed on Mar. 31, 2005, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
 The present invention relates to an intervertebral prosthetic device for stabilizing the human spine, and a method of implanting same.
 Spinal discs that extend between adjacent vertebrae in vertebral columns of the human body provide critical support between the adjacent vertebrae. These discs can rupture, degenerate, and/or protrude by injury, degradation, disease, or the like, to such a degree that the intervertebral space between adjacent vertebrae collapses as the disc loses at least a part of its support function, which can cause impingement of the nerve roots and severe pain.
 In these cases, intervertebral prosthetic devices have been designed that can be implanted between the adjacent vertebrae, both anterior and posterior of the column, to prevent the collapse of the intervertebral space between the adjacent vertebrae and thus stabilize the spine.
 However, many of these devices have less than optimum biomechanics, are relatively difficult to insert, have insufficient strength, and often do not provide an optimum fit with the anatomy.
 Therefore, the intervertebral prosthetic device according to an embodiment of the invention overcomes the above deficiencies by providing improved biomechanics and increased strength, in addition to being relatively easy to insert, yet provides an improved fit with the anatomy.
 Various embodiments of the invention may possess one or more of the above features and advantages, or provide one or more solutions to the above problems existing in the prior art.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of an adult human vertebral column.
 FIG. 2 is a posterior elevational view of the column of FIG. 1.
 FIG. 3 is an enlarged, front elevational view of one of the vertebrae of the column of FIGS. 1 and 2.
 FIG. 4 is an enlarged, partial, isometric view of a portion of the column of FIGS. 1 and 2, including the lower three vertebrae of the column, and depicting an intervertebral prosthetic device according to an embodiment of the invention inserted between two adjacent vertebrae.
 FIG. 5 is an enlarged, isometric, view of the prosthetic device of FIG. 3.
 FIG. 6 is an enlarged, top plan view of the prosthetic device of FIG. 5.
 FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 7-7 of FIG. 6.
 With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the reference numeral 10 refers, in general, to a human vertebral column 10. The lower portion of the vertebral column 10 is shown and includes the lumbar region 12, the vertebra V6, and the coccyx 16. The flexible, soft portion of the vertebral column 10, which includes the thoracic region and the cervical region, is not shown.
 The lumbar region 12 of the vertebral column 10 includes five vertebrae V1, V2, V3, V4 and V5 separated by intervertebral discs D1, D2, D3, and D4, with the disc D1 extending between the vertebrae V1 and V2, the disc D2 extending between the vertebrae V2 and V3, the disc D3 extending between the vertebrae V3 and V4, and the disc D4 extending between the vertebrae V4 and V5.
 The vertebra V6 includes five fused vertebrae, one of which is a superior vertebra V6 separated from the vertebra V5 by a disc D5. The other four fused vertebrae of the sacrum 14 are referred to collectively as V7. A disc D6 separates the vertebra V6 from the coccyx 16 which includes four fused vertebrae (not referenced).
 With reference to FIG. 3, the vertebra V5 includes two laminae 20a and 20b extending to either side (as viewed in FIG. 2) of a spinous process 22 that extends posteriorly from the juncture of the two laminae. Two transverse processes 24a and 24b extend laterally from the laminae 20a and 20b, respectively. Two articular processes 26a and 26b extend superiorly from the laminae 20a and 20b, respectively, and two articular processes 28a and 28b extend inferiorly from the laminae 20a and 20b, respectively. The inferior articular processes 28a and 28b rest in the superior articular process of the vertebra V2 to form a facet joint. Since the other vertebrae V1-V4 are similar to the vertebra V5, they will not be described in detail.
 Referring again to FIG. 2, the vertebra V6 of the sacrum 14 includes two laminae 30a and 30b extending to either side (as viewed in FIG. 2) of a median sacral crest, or spinous process, 32a that extends inferiorly from a ridge 34 and posteriorly from the juncture of the two laminae. The vertebra V6 also includes a pair of sacral wings 36a and 36b that extend laterally from the laminae 30a and 30b, respectively. Four additional axially-spaced sacral crests, or spinous processes, 32b-32d are associated with the fused vertebra V7 of the sacrum 14 and extend inferiorly from the spinous process 32a.
 Referring to FIG. 4, it will be assumed that, for one or more of the reasons set forth above, the vertebrae V5 and V6 are not being adequately supported by the disc D4 and that it is therefore necessary to provide supplemental support and stabilization of these vertebrae. To this end, an intervertebral disc prosthetic device 40 according to an embodiment of the invention is implanted between the spinous processes 22 of the vertebra V5 and the crest, or spinous process 32a, of the vertebra V6.
 The device is shown in detail in FIGS. 5-7 and includes a solid body member 42 having a generally rectangular cross section in each plane with the exception of several notches and cuts to be described.
 In particular, two curved grooves, or notches, 42a and 42b are formed in the upper portions of the respective end portions of the body member, as viewed in the drawings. A laterally extending angled cut, or groove 42c, having a curved cross section, is formed in the underside of the body member 42 below the notch 42a, as viewed in FIGS. 5 and 7. Similarly, a laterally extending cut, or groove 42d, also having a curved cross section, is formed in the underside of the body member 42 below the notch 42b. The shape of the cut 42d is such that a tab, or hook, 42e (FIG. 7) is defined on the underside of the body member.
 Two laterally extending, through openings 42f are formed through the body member 42 for receiving cables, or the like, to tether the device to the vertebrae V5 and V6 when the device 40 is implanted between the vertebrae V5 and V6 in the position shown in FIG. 4.
 Referring to FIG. 4, the device 40 is inserted between the vertebra V5 and the vertebra V6 with the spinous process 22 of the vertebra V5 extending in the notch 42a of the body member 42, and the crest, or spinous process, 32a of the vertebra V6 extending in the notch 42b of the body member. The groove 42c (FIGS. 5 and 7) thus extends superiorly and extends around the corresponding edges of the laminae 30a and 30b (FIG. 2) of the vertebra V5, and the groove 42d extends inferiorly and fits around the ridge 34 (FIG. 2) of the vertebra V6, with the tab 42e extending under the latter ridge.
 It is understood that the body member 42 can be fabricated from any conventional material or combination of materials. For example, it could have an inner core of a relatively hard material, such as hard rubber or plastic, which is surrounded by a relatively soft material such as silicone, which can be molded around the core.
 The device 40 is relatively easy to insert between the vertebrae V5 and V6 in the manner described above, and readily fits the vertebrae. The grooves 42c and 42d, as well as the tab 42e, aid in retaining the device 40 in the implanted position, and the core 42f adds strength to the device 40, while the soft material surrounding the core minimizes damage to the processes 22 and 30a of the vertebrae V5 and V6, respectively.
 It is understood that variations may be made in the foregoing without departing from the invention and examples of some variations are as follows:
 Any conventional substance that promotes bone growth, such as HA coating, BMP, or the like, can be incorporated in the body member 42;
 The body member 42 may have through holes formed therein to improve integration of the bone growth;
 The body member 42 may vary in shape, size, composition, and physical properties;
 The number and location of the notches and grooves formed in the body member 42 can vary;
 The prosthetic device 40 can be placed between two vertebrae in the vertebral column 10 other than the ones described above;
 The body member 42 can be fabricated from materials other than those described above;
 Bilateral extrusions, or the like, can be provided on the body member 42 to enable a tethering device to be attached to the component;
 The prosthetic device 40 can be implanted between body portions other than vertebrae;
 The prosthetic device 40 can be inserted between two vertebrae following a discectemy in which a disc between the adjacent vertebrae is removed, or corpectomy in which at least one vertebra is removed;
 The spatial references made above, such as "under", "over", "between", "flexible, soft", "lower", "top", "bottom", etc. are for the purpose of illustration only and do not limit the specific orientation or location of the structure described above.
 The preceding specific embodiments are illustrative of the practice of the invention. It is to be understood, therefore, that other expedients known to those skilled in the art, or disclosed herein, may be employed without departing from the invention or the scope of the appended claims, as detailed above. In the claims, means-plus-function clauses are intended to cover the structures described herein as performing the recited function and not only structural equivalents but also equivalent structures. Thus, although a nail and a screw may not be structural equivalents in that a nail employs a cylindrical surface to secure wooden parts together, whereas a screw employs a helical surface, in the environment of fastening wooden parts a nail and a screw are equivalent structures.
Patent applications by Kent M. Anderson, Memphis, TN US
Patent applications by WARSAW ORTHOPEDIC, INC.
Patent applications in class Spacer type
Patent applications in all subclasses Spacer type