Abstract: A method and device for treating human intervertebral disc herniations using an endoscopic procedure. An access port is opened into and through the annulus of a disc to remove nucleus pulposus. Laser light fibers may then be passed through an endoscopic guide tube to anneal the inner surface of the disc annulus. Next, a balloon assembly with a valve is placed via the guide tube into the created disc space. The balloon is filled with a fluid to occupy the disc interspace or to maintain some degree of distraction of the created disc space. Post surgery, after fibrocollagenous tissue has grown into the disc space, a second endoscopic procedure is performed to remove the balloon assembly. Fluid is removed to collapse the balloon structure and then removed via the guide tube. The ingrowth of fibrocollagenous tissue will continue to fill the void formerly occupied by the balloon structure. The minimally invasive procedure of the invention allows for short term recovery and early return to normal activity.
May 16, 2002
Date of Patent:
October 19, 2004
Merrill W. Reuter, Gerald L. Reuter, Carey D. Rehder