Novel, minimally-invasive, technology for achieving a complete discectomy

Megan Wood - Last Modified   Print  | Email

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), a common lumbar fusion procedure, doesn't normally present a particularly long learning curve for most spine surgeons. A minimally invasive TLIF involving a muscle-sparing, muscle-splitting incision, can result in less pain and less blood loss. Patients experience a quicker recovery, often returning home the day after the procedure. However, this MIS approach has its’ own reproducibility and learning curve:

Benvenue Medical has developed GuardRail, a novel minimally-invasive discectomy system, which assists surgeons in achieving a rapid, complete discectomy while offering a protected working corridor that insulates the nerve roots and dura from multiple passes of instruments throughout a TLIF procedure.


"Especially with new surgeons, where they don't have the experience of tactile feedback, having something like the GuardRail, which protects surrounding nerve roots and dura from injury, that's an extra layer of protection for the patient," says Adam Lewis, MD, of Jackson (Miss.) Neurosurgery.


GuardRail consists of a nitinol rail that establishes a protective circular barrier within the disc space that allows a proprietary set of tools to cut, disrupt, scrape and extract disc material and prepare the vertebral endplates for fusion.


"The GuardRail technology is an innovation to disc and endplate preparation for lumbar fusion," says Dr. Lewis. "It's easy to use and the learning curve is not steep."


Sandeep Kunwar, MD, of Fremont, Calif.-based Bell Neuroscience Institute of Silicon Valley, agrees: "The Guardrail is pushing the limits to say how we do a TLIF discectomy."


Unlike other discectomy tools, the GuardRail system features a protective dual lumen cannula, which docks in the disc space and deploys the cannulated rail. This novel cannula and rail establishes the safe corridor and perimeter for passing instruments into the disc space. Spine surgeons can pass the discectomy instruments multiple times through the corridor, thereby protecting the DRG, nerve roots and dura while achieving a reproducible discectomy.


"One of the challenges, by working through one side, is that it's often difficult to have instruments that reach across into the contralateral disc space, so the GuardRail provides the technology to do that in a safe way," says Dr. Lewis. Dr. Kunwar adds, "the technology speeds up the operation as makes it easier to pass instruments."


The key features of the GuardRail system include:



"[The GuardRail] provides a consistent sweep of all the disc material, so there's more of a window to put a large implant and place graft material," Dr. Lewis says. Specifically, the GuardRail technology is compatible with Benvenue's Luna 3D implant.


GuardRail is in early clinical validation and will be commercialized in early 2017. Please contact Benvenue Medical ( for more information.


If you have any questions or would like to speak with a corporate representative,please contact our Customer Service department at (408) 454-9300 or



This article is sponsored by Benvenue Medical


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