US 20060235535 A1
An artificial joint or disc replacement (ADR) broadly includes a pair of opposing endplate components, each attached to one of the upper and lower vertebrae, a cushioning component disposed between the endplate components, and a mechanism for coupling the cushioning component to one or both of the endplates. In the preferred embodiment, the cushioning component takes the form of a tire-like outer structure attached to an inner hub. A filler material is also preferably contained within the cushioning component. The filler material may be a gas, liquid, foam, or gel, including a hydrogel. One or both of the endplate components may include a modified surface to increase adherence to respective opposing bone surfaces.
1. A modular implant configured for placement between opposing bone surfaces, comprising:
at least one endplate component attached to one of the opposing bone surfaces;
a modular cushioning component removably attached to the endplate component; and
a mechanism allowing the cushioning component to be installed, removed or replaced with the endplate component attached.
2. The implant of
3. The implant of
4. The implant of
5. The implant of
6. The implant of
7. The implant of
the cushioning component includes an outer, compressible tire-like structure attached to a central hub; and
the central hub includes the mechanism for interlocking the cushioning component to the endplates.
8. The implant of
9. The implant of
10. The implant of
11. The implant of
12. The implant of
13. The implant of
14. The implant of
the endplate is configured for adherence to the articular portion of a prosthetic tibia component.
26. A method of inserting an artificial disc replacement (ADR) into an intervertebral disc space, comprising the steps of:
inserting a vertebral endplate into a disc space;
affixing the endplate component to a vertebral body; and
inserting a cushioning component into the disc space after the endplate has been affixed.
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/303,385, filed Nov. 25, 2002; which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/191,639, filed Jul. 9, 2002; which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/415,382, filed Oct. 8, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,419,704, and Ser. No. 09/580,231, filed May 26, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,494,883. The entire content of each application and patent is incorporated herein by reference.
This invention relates generally to surgical techniques and prosthetic components therefore and, in particular, to intervertebral disc replacement apparatus and methods of implanting the same.
Eighty-five percent of the population will experience low back pain at some point. Fortunately, the majority of people recover from their back pain with a combination of benign neglect, rest, exercise, medication, physical therapy, or chiropractic care. A small percent of the population will suffer chronic low back pain. The cost of treatment of patients with spinal disorders plus the patient's lost productivity is estimated at 25 to 100 billion dollars annually.
Seven cervical (neck), 12 thoracic, and 5 lumbar (low back) vertebrae form the normal human spine. Intervertebral discs reside between adjacent vertebra with two exceptions. First, the articulation between the first two cervical vertebrae does not contain a disc. Second, a disc lies between the last lumbar vertebra and the sacrum (a portion of the pelvis).
The spine supports the body, and protects the spinal cord and nerves. The vertebrae of the spine are also supported by ligaments, tendons, and muscles which allow movement (flexion, extension, lateral bending, and rotation). Motion between vertebrae occurs through the disc and two facet joints. The disc lies in the front or anterior portion of the spine. The facet joints lie laterally on either side of the posterior portion of the spine.
The human intervertebral disc is an oval to kidney bean shaped structure of variable size depending on the location in the spine. The outer portion of the disc is known as the annulus fibrosis. The annulus is formed of 10 to 60 fibrous bands. The fibers in the bands alternate their direction of orientation by 30 degrees between each band. The orientation serves to control vertebral motion (one half of the bands tighten to check motion when the vertebra above or below the disc are turned in either direction).
The annulus contains the nucleus. The nucleus pulpous serves to transmit and dampen axial loads. A high water content (70-80 percent) assists the nucleus in this function. The water content has a diurnal variation. The nucleus imbibes water while a person lies recumbent. Activity squeezes fluid from the disc. Nuclear material removed from the body and placed into water will imbibe water swelling to several times its normal size. The nucleus comprises roughly 50 percent of the entire disc. The nucleus contains cells (chondrocytes and fibrocytes) and proteoglycans (chondroitin sulfate and keratin sulfate). The cell density in the nucleus is on the order of 4,000 cells per micro liter.
Interestingly, the adult disc is the largest avascular structure in the human body. Given the lack of vascularity, the nucleus is not exposed to the body's immune system. Most cells in the nucleus obtain their nutrition and fluid exchange through diffusion from small blood vessels in adjacent vertebra.
The disc changes with aging. As a person ages the water content of the disc falls from approximately 85 percent at birth to 70 percent in the elderly. The ratio of chondroitin sulfate to keratin sulfate decreases with age. The ratio of chondroitin 6 sulfate to chondroitin 4 sulfate increases with age. The distinction between the annulus and the nucleus decreases with age. These changes are known as disc degeneration. Generally disc degeneration is painless.
Premature or accelerated disc degeneration is known as degenerative disc disease. A large portion of patients suffering from chronic low back pain are thought to have this condition. As the disc degenerates, the nucleus and annulus functions are compromised. The nucleus becomes thinner and less able to handle compression loads. The annulus fibers become redundant as the nucleus shrinks. The redundant annular fibers are less effective in controlling vertebral motion. The disc pathology can result in: 1) bulging of the annulus into the spinal cord or nerves; 2) narrowing of the space between the vertebra where the nerves exit; 3) tears of the annulus as abnormal loads are transmitted to the annulus and the annulus is subjected to excessive motion between vertebra; and 4) disc herniation or extrusion of the nucleus through complete annular tears.
Current surgical treatments of disc degeneration are destructive. One group of procedures removes the nucleus or a portion of the nucleus; lumbar discectomy falls in this category. A second group of procedures destroy nuclear material; Chymopapin (an enzyme) injection, laser discectomy, and thermal therapy (heat treatment to denature proteins) fall in this category. A third group, spinal fusion procedures either remove the disc or the disc's function by connecting two or more vertebra together with bone. These destructive procedures lead to acceleration of disc degeneration. The first two groups of procedures compromise the treated disc. Fusion procedures transmit additional stress to the adjacent discs. The additional stress results in premature disc degeneration of the adjacent discs.
Prosthetic disc replacement offers many advantages. The prosthetic disc attempts to eliminate a patient's pain while preserving the disc's function. Current prosthetic disc implants, however, either replace the nucleus or the nucleus and the annulus. Both types of current procedures remove the degenerated disc component to allow room for the prosthetic component. Although the use of resilient materials has been proposed, the need remains for further improvements in the way in which prosthetic components are incorporated into the disc space, and in materials to ensure strength and longevity. Such improvements are necessary, since the prosthesis may be subjected to 100,000,000 compression cycles over the life of the implant.
This invention resides in an artificial joint or disc replacement (ADR) configured for placement between upper and lower vertebrae. The implant broadly includes a pair of opposing endplate components, each attached to one of the upper and lower vertebrae, a cushioning component disposed between the endplate components, and a mechanism for coupling the cushioning component to one or both of the endplates.
In the preferred embodiment, the cushioning component takes the form of a tire-like outer structure attached to an inner hub. A filler material is also preferably contained within the cushioning component. The filler material may be a gas, liquid, foam, or gel, including a hydrogel. If a solid, foam, gel or hydrogel is used, such material may be used as a single piece or as multiple pieces.
One or both of the endplate components may include a modified surface to increase adherence to the respective vertebral endplates or opposing bone surfaces in the case of a joint replacement. Such surface modification may include spikes, barbs or other projections, and/or pores or roughening conducive to bony ingrowth.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,419,704 discloses artificial replacements for natural intervertebral discs in humans and animals. Broadly, a shaped body assumes a final volume sized to consume at least a portion of the intervertebral disc space, and a material associated with the shaped body enabling the body to cyclically compress and expand in a manner similar to the disc material being replaced. The body may be composed of a compressible material, such as polymeric urethane or other suitable elastomers, or may include a filling to impart an appropriate level of compressibility. The superior and inferior surfaces may be convex, and may further include grooves, spikes, or other protrusions to maintain the body within the intervertebral space. The body may further be wedge-shaped to help restore or maintain lordosis, particularly if the prosthesis is introduced into the cervical or lumbar regions of the spine.
To enhance strength or longevity, the body may further include the use of fiber-reinforced materials on one or more outer surfaces or wall structures, as the case may be. Similar to commercial tire construction, such fiber-reinforced materials may be of a bias-ply, radial-ply or bias-belted construction. According to one configuration, an artificial disc according to the invention may further include an outer compressible member peripherally attached to a central “hub,” similar, at least in concept, to the which a tire is mounted onto a wheel.
The instant invention extends the teachings of the '704 patent through the addition of metal endplates, bone-ingrowth surfaces, and/or modular, interlocking components. Although the invention is described in terms of artificial disc replacement (ADR), the approach may also be used to dampen other artificial joints within the body, such as the tibial component of a knee replacement.
As noted in the '704 patent, the ADR may be filled with a gas, liquid, gel (including hydrogels), foam or other compressible material, and the material may be introduced or otherwise provided through the use of a valve, port, syringe, or, alternatively, by way of valveless means. The body in this case is preferably a sealed unit, and may include self-sealing means in the event of a leak or rupture.
If a valve is used to inflate the ADR, it may be configured so as to be accessible during implantation, enabling the surgeon to expand the device in situ. A valve may also be provided in the form of a port enabling subcutaneous post-operative inflation or re-expansion. If a hydrogel is used as the filler material, it may introduced within the body in a dehydrated state prior to implantation, with water being added to expand the material. The liquid may be added through a valve, port or hypodermic in conjunction within a sealed structure or, alternatively, at least a portion of the surface of the body, preferably the superior end or inferior surfaces, may be at least semi-porous. As a further alternative to a valveless structure, one or more reactants may be provided with the body, such that when mixed with one or more other reactants, a gas or foam is generated to expand and fill the body. As yet a further alternative, an ampule or cartridge operative to release a compressed gas or generate a gas, liquid or foam may be activated by an external source of energy such as ultrasound, heat, or other stimuli.
Turning now to the figures,
The modular cushioning component can cooperate with a single ADR endplate as drawn. Alternatively, the cushioning component can be placed between ADR endplates placed on the vertebral endplates on either side of the disc space. The raised circular area in the central portion of the hub, below the lockable projection, is smaller than the hole in the tire-like component to highlight the raised portion of the hub. The raised portion of the hub rests against the ADR endplate. A recess is created between the widest portion of the hub, which is inside the tire-like component, and the ADR endplate. The recess is slightly taller than the thickness of the tire-like component. The cooperation between the hub and the ADR endplate protects the portion of the tire-like component, above the extension of the hub, from axial compression. The smooth surface of the cushion side of the ADR endplate and the space between the hub and the ADR endplate facilitate radial expansion of the tire-like component. The tire-like hoop expands in a radial direction secondary to the outward force transferred from the hydrogel within the tire-like hoop. The hydrogel applies outward force on the tire-like hoop secondary to axial forces on the spine.
The embodiment of the ADR drawn in
The hoop-mesh skeleton is covered with vulcanized elastomer much like the wire hoops within the bead of commercial tires are covered with vulcanized elastomer. Molds, liquid elastomers, and heat as used in the commercial tire industry could be used to surround the hoop-mesh skeleton with elastomers. Bias ply fibers could be incorporated into the elastomer.
The elastic horizontal hoops and vertical skeleton members resist radial expansion of the tire. The elastic horizontal hoops and vertical members expand and contract in reaction to forces applied by a hydrogel, gas, liquid, or other polymer within the center of the ADR.
The elastomer surrounding the hoop-mesh skeleton provides a smooth surface to cooperate with the hydrogel or other polymer center of the ARD. The elastomer also serves to prevent the extrusion of the hydrogel or other polymer from spaces between the hoops. Lastly, the elastomer assists the hoops in resisting radial expansion.
The completed carcass is flexible in a superior to inferior direction. The carcass may be more flexible anteriorly than posteriorly or at the sides of the carcass.
In the preferred embodiment, the carcass cooperates with an ADR endplate (EP) on its, superior and inferior surfaces, to contain a hydrogel core. The carcass is connected to the perimeter of the ADR EPs. Wire rings could connect the carcass to holes in the ADR EPs. The wire rings could be laser welded after connecting the two components. Alternatively, the carcass could be stretched over the perimeter of the ADR EPs much like a tire stretches over the hub of a wheel. A band could be tightened over the portion of the tire that lies over the ADR EPs.
Fluid could move into the hydrogel through holes in the ADR EPs, the elastomer, or the space between the tire and the ADR EPs.
The ADR could be compressed prior to its insertion in the disc space. The arms of the tool that compress the ADR would also help make the spikes from the ADR EP less prominent, thus reducing the risk of soft tissue injury during the insertion process. The partially hydrated hydrogel imbibes additional fluid after insertion of the ADR to further improve the ADR press fit.
This invention offers numerous advantages over existing designs. As opposed to all metal or metal/polyethylene designs, the cushioning components disclosed herein behave more like a natural disc while protecting adjacent discs (transfers less force to the adjacent discs). The modular cushion components and other design elements allow replacement of the cushion component without revising well fixed ADR EPs. The modular designs also reduce implant inventory and allow insertion of ADR EP or EPs first. Inserting the ADR EPs separately allows longer spikes or projections that are press fit into the vertebrae EP.
Indeed, certain embodiments allow replacement of the cushioning component without removing one or both of the ADR endplates. The use of polyethylene provides minimal cushioning, since the components are shaped to articulate with metal components to permit spinal motion. The modular cushion components disclosed herein permit spinal motion through compression of the modular cushion component rather than articulation as seen in the above mentioned patents.
The use of a hybrid design (ADR EP attached to superior vertebra and tire-like component) acts directly on the superior EP of the inferior vertebra. The ADR EP fits over a milled or shaped surface of the superior vertebra. The inferior EPs of vertebrae are generally less flat than the superior EPs of vertebrae. The shapes of the inferior EPs are also more variable than the shapes of the superior EPs. Extensive experience with Total Knee Replacement over the last few decades suggest it is better to prepare a reproducible flat surface on the tibia than to manufacture a wide variety of tibia component shapes to fit the various shapes of the tibia articular surface. Similar to TKRs, the hybrid ADR attaches a flat ADR EP onto the cut surface of the superior vertebrae.
Disc space is limited in size, and experience with TKRs suggests thin polyethylene components leads to early failure. By eliminating one of the ADR endplates, the modular cushioning component of the disclosed hybrid ADR can be thicker. The modular cushion components disclosed herein can conform to the EP of the inferior vertebra. Furthermore, the durability of tire-like components give the cushion component excellent wear characteristics, even with direct placement of the cushion component onto the EP of the vertebra. The smooth surface of our tire like component should minimize wear on the vertebra EP. Certain design are unique in that they use a single ADR EP. It is also the only ADR design that attaches a cushion component to a single ADR endplate.
The coupling mechanisms between the ADR EP and the modular cushion component prevent the cushion component from extruding from the disc space. The coupling mechanism also keeps the cushion component centered in the disc space. Eccentric placement of free compressible components or NR ADRs increases the probability of extrusion of the component or ADR. The coupling mechanisms also enable the insertion of a component between the ADR EPs that is wedge shaped and thickest in the front of the component. The disc in the cervical and lumbar spines are naturally thickest at their anterior most portion.
The Hybrid design is the only known ADR to couple the components using a reversibly deformable cushion component that cooperates with a metal projection from the ADR EP. The Hybrid design, as well as a few of the other embodiments, do not require precise alignment between ADR EPs placed over both vertebral EPs. Other modular ADRs place polyethylene between two metal ADR EPs. The ADR EPs must align perfectly for the polyethylene insert to articulate properly with the ADR EPs.
The various materials prescribed herein are biocompatible and approved for use in humans. These include hydrogels, elastomers, and metals such as titanium. The hydrogels are able to change their fluid content, and thus size, as pressure on the hydrogel is applied. The migration of fluid to and from the disc space may improve the nutrition of the living cells within the disc. The hydrogel embodiments are also capable of increasing in size by imbibing fluid after they are inserted. Thus, hydrogels can grow to “custom fit” the available disc space. Dehydrated hydrogels can be inserted through smaller openings in the ADR or disc space. Hydrated hydrogels grow to fit the available space after insertion.
In certain embodiments, hydrogel is contained within an elastomeric hoop called a tire. The preferred hydrogel has high water content to function like the NP of the natural disc. In particular, axial loads on the hydrogel are converted into radial forces on the tire. The tire expands in a radial direction due to the loads transferred by the hydrogel, and resists the loads via hoop stresses. The “tire” also limits the amount of hydrogel shape change (the hydrogel wants to decrease in height and increase in width and length with axial load).
The preferred high water content hydrogel is mucous like in consistency, acting similar to hydraulic fluid which transfers load to the tire. In contrast, the hydrogels of prior-art devices are firmer, to act as the primary load bearing member In our device, axial compression of the disk space is transformed into radial distension of the tire and enlargement of the cross sectional area. Because area grows as the square of the radius, an increment of axial deflection produces a smaller increment of radial deflection.
The tire designs also act as a spring to restore the disk space as the load is decreased. The tire dampens most of the forces on the spine. The hydrogel, for the most part, transfers forces to the hoop. These devices rely on the hydrogel and the tire to share the dampening forces, with the tire doing bulk of the dampening. The tire may contain cloth-like material and elastomers.
A preferred embodiment is elliptical in shape to maximize the amount of cushioning material in the disc space. Circular shaped ADRs may leave precious disc space unoccupied. According to this invention, a single ADR device is inserted, since paired ADRs may risk extrusion. If one of the paired ADR maintains the disc height, the lack of axial load and thus friction on the other paired ADR can lead to extrusion of the unloaded ADR.
The use of a “hub” has several important features. For one, the hub cooperates with the ADR EP to create a space for the top of the tire that is slightly wider than the thickness of the hub. The space protects the portion of the tire between the hub and the ADR EP from axial compression. Sparing the tire from axial compression facilitates radial expansion of the hub during axial compression of the ADR. The smooth surface of the hub and the ADR EP further promotes expansion of the tire with axial compression. Protecting a portion of the tire from axial compression may prolong the life of the tire.
The tire also stretches to allow hub insertion through a hole in the hoop that is smaller than the hub. The tire returns to its original shape after the hub is inserted. Inelastic bags would not have the elastic properties of our tire.
One embodiment of the tire has a hole in the top; another has holes in the top and bottom of the tire. The hub cooperates with the tire to trap the hydrogel in the tire. The overlap between hub and the tire permit the hole in the tire to enlarge (with radial expansion) yet hold the hydrogel in place.
The use of a variable center of rotation, as opposed to a fixed center of rotation, also function more like natural disc by restoring normal disc kinematics. This allows all normal disc motions (direction and magnitude) including flexion, extension, lateral bending, translocation, and rotation. The various ADR designs maintain distraction to decrease the pressure on compressed nerves and to decrease the pressure on the facet joints.
ADR endplates with holes for insertion of a distraction instrument is believed to be unique. Among other advantages, this allows distraction instruments to hold the disc space in a distracted position while the modular cushion component is inserted. The use of a ‘ribbon’ to test proper-coupling of the modular components, and the resistance to extrusion of the ADR, is also thought to be unique.
Other novel disclosures include the use of screws recessed into the body of the vertebra. Recessed screws minimize the risk of the screws backing out into the aorta. The ADR plates may also include a mechanism, similar to those used in plates for the cervical spine, to prevent screw back-out. The use of a keel with an enlargement in the portion above the endplate of the vertebra is also believed to be unique. The enlargement in the keyhole-like slot resists forces trying to pull the ADR EP from the vertebra. Another unique feature is the use of deployable projections into the vertebrae to resist extrusion of ADRs, as is the use of perpendicular projections from the surface of the ADR EP.