A growing number of the thousands of spine surgeries performed each year in the United States involve minimally invasive techniques. Such procedures are designed to ease trauma to surrounding muscles while still correcting the problem with the spine or its supporting discs or joints. Thanks to METRx System Medtronic dilator technology, surgeons are able to perform complex or intricate operations without placing extra stress on the spinal cord or nerve roots.


How the METRx System Works

Consisting of a series of dilators and specially designed tubes, the METRx System works by allowing the surgeon to gently separate muscles and other tissues to get to the affected area of the spine. Small incisions that will also be used to insert other instruments are made to insert the dilators and tubes. The metal tubes are used to create a pathway for the surgeon, who uses special bayoneted tools to remove or correct the problem with the disc or spine. Steps involved with the use of METRx System Medtronic dilator technology include:

  • Using a live X-ray (fluoroscope) to locate the problem disc
  • Inserting dilators through small half-inch incisions
  • Holding the space open with retractors so surgical tools can be inserted to complete the procedure
  • Removing the metal tubes and allowing the separated muscles to return to their normal positions.

Improved Minimally Invasive Surgery

What’s unique about the METRx System is the use of the tubes. By creating a clear path to the affected part of the spine, the surgeon is able to get a better view of the problem. This new technology also makes it safer to perform spine surgery from a posterior (side where the spine is located) approach, which is often necessary to allow for better access to the spine.

When METRx Technology Is Used

The METRx System has been used during minimally invasive procedures to remove all or part of a herniated disc or disc fragments pressing on nearby nerve roots. This technology can also be applied to procedures where a part of the vertebral arch is removed (laminotomy) or when all or part of a disc is removed (discectomy).


Possible Benefits for Patients

Surgeries performed with the METRx System and related technology reduce the risk of unintended damage to muscles and other soft tissues near the damaged part of the spine. There is usually no need to cut or strip muscles, which further eases stress on the body. Patients also benefit from:

  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster return to normal activities/routines
  • Less noticeable scars
  • Reduced post-operative pain

Results from the Use of the METRx System

Patients who’ve had the procedure often report being satisfied with the results. Pain relief experienced after surgery performed with METRx System Medtronic dilator technology is similar to what’s reported after open surgery.

Traditional open surgery can be damaging to muscles and nerves. This is why minimally invasive techniques with METRx System Medtronic dilator technology is a welcome approach to performing many common corrective procedures to relieve nerve root pressure. The success rate with surgeries that ease stress to surrounding tissues is extremely high, often exceeding 85 or 90 percent.