Coflex Interlaminar Stabilization Device
This device allows for some stabilization in cases where decompression is needed, but there is a desire to avoid screws and a spinal fusion.
First some definitions:
“Coflex” is the brand name of the device.
Since the lamina are the sheets of bone on the backside of the spine, with this bone covering the spinal nerves, the word “interlaminar” refers to the space between the lamina.
In this model to the left, some of the lamina, and also some of the facet joint has been drilled away as part of a decompression procedure. Decompression refers to the removal of bone or soft tissue that is causing pressure on the nerves. Removal of the pressure is the decompression.
Joints are unstable if they have abnormal motion. For example, if a tire is loose on a car, that tire will move abnormally and the car won’t ride right.
“Stabilization” refers to the process of avoiding or correcting that abnormal motion. For the example of the car tire, the solution might be to tighten the attachment of the tire/wheel to the car. In spinal problems, very often, stability problems are treated with fusion, where the intervening soft tissues are removed and the bones are connected with bone growing between them.
Quite often, when the spinal nerves are decompressed, the next step is to provide stability to the spine by doing a fusion, which involves trying to get the spinal bones to grow together, as illustrated here on the right. This fusion process is not always successful, and takes many months to occur.
The idea behind the Coflex device, which is an option only in certain cases, is to maintain the separation between the vertebral bones and still allow for some motion to occur.
For more information from the company website, click here.