How Does The Baxano iO-Flex Device Help With A Lumbar Laminectomy And Foraminotomy?

 In Lumbar Stenosis, minimally invasive surgery, Spinal Stenosis

The iO-Flex® System utilizes thin, flexible instruments to provide precise lumbar decompression, i.e. removing pressure on spinal nerves, from the “inside out.”

The Baxano iO Flex® device is much like a flexible nail file that is inserted through the foramen, which is the “window” in the bone where a spinal nerve exits the spine.  A surgeon slides the device back and forth to shave down any areas of bone that have narrowed this window and therefore make room for the nerve; this allows a surgeon to access areas of the spine that are not accessible through standard techniques. The associated iO-Flex® System, a proprietary system with additional flexible instruments, allows surgeons to shave down areas of bone not only within this foraminal window where the nerve exits, but also within the spinal canal itself.

When the Baxano iO Flex device is used by your spinal surgeon, it can allow a wider foraminotomy (or ‘opening’ of the foramen or window) to be completed, to better ensure that a spinal nerve no longer has pressure from the surrounding bone. For surgeons, the foramen is one of the more challenging, yet essential areas to reach, especially as  some areas are difficult to reach without removing too much bone, potentially threatening the stability of the spine.

Baxano’s iO-Flex Systems has FDA clearance and allows for decompression of up to four spinal nerves through a single opening of the bone overlying the spinal canal, termed a “laminotomy.”

Here are some further details on how this system helps in lumbar laminectomy and foraminotomy, both of which remove bone that is pinching spinal nerves and thus causing pain and discomfort. This controlled system is designed to:

  •  Decompress bone and soft tissue in the central part of the spinal canal, the lateral recess (outside edge of the spinal canal) and the foramen (window where the nerve exits)in a targeted fashion
  • Ensure thorough and complete decompression to allow room for the spinal nerves to function
  • Allows your surgeon direct visualization of the cal sac, which contains all the spinal nerves and spinal fluid within the lower part of the spine, allowing for either  a minimally-invasive or open incision
  • Allows your surgeon better access through flexibility of instruments, unlike traditional, more rigid tools.   It is the only treatment alternative that is able to reach and relieve pressure surrounding up to two nerves on each side of the spine, through one small incision.  This may also help reduce trauma to the surrounding muscles.
  • The company that makes the device believes using the product may help reduce OR time and shorten hospital stays following surgery, though more study is needed

The iO-Flex device is one of many advanced, minimally invasive technologies used to help patients with spinal conditions such as lumbar stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) or a “pinched nerve.”   These types of techniques can help shorten the duration of spinal surgery procedures, and they may  lessen recovery time while hastening a return to better quality of life. It is important to remember that there are many reasons for pain due to pressure on a nerve, and that due to your specific condition you may or may not be a candidate for this type of spinal procedure.  You can talk to your spinal surgeon about the Baxano iO Flex system tofind out more about how this futuristic and exciting tool can perhaps play a part in your spinal surgery if you are indeed a candidate.

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