A Medical Device Daily

minSURG (Clearwater, Florida) through its parent company, Orthopedic Development (Boston), has received a Notice of Allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on two of its pending patent applications.

The patents protect the designs of one of the company's TruFUSE dowels and a Surgical Drill Guide, which is used in minSURG's TruFUSE minimally invasive facet fusion procedures and systems. The pending patents, once issued, will offer patent protection through 2022.

Six additional patent applications related to the TruFUSE product are pending. TruFUSE uses specially designed bone dowels to stop facet joints from moving, which is intended to eliminate or dramatically reduce back pain caused by a variety of reasons. TruFUSE also is used to supplement other back surgeries when more invasive or destructive means are not required.

The TruFUSE procedure is intended to fuse the facet joints through a natural healing process for a long-term solution. Because TruFUSE causes minimal tissue damage, it does not preclude other options, including non-surgical alternatives, and TruFUSE can be used earlier than other, more invasive spine fusion methods, according to the company.

Smart Disc (Allen Park, Michigan), a med-tech firm focused on the development of innovative spine products, said it has received a Notice of Allowance from the USPTO for U.S. patent application number 10/838,515, its artificial spinal disc technology.

Smart Disc's said its spinal replacement disc "mimics the functionality of the patient's own intervertebral disc and can be put into place by the surgeon via a posterior application, thereby avoiding the need to go through the front of the patient, as is the current standard practice in disc replacement."

The prosthesis is intended to maintain the normal movement between the vertebral bodies and prevent them from collapsing and thereby irritating or damaging the nerve root by maintaining the disc space height between the bones.

"We are pleased to receive this Notice of Allowance," said M. Ross Simmonds, a director of the company. "The allowed patent claims, when issued, will enable Smart Disc to take the next step toward bringing the surgical community a viable new alternative."

"It's gratifying that the USPTO has recognized the novel innovations that we have developed," added CFO Terry Fiscus. "This milestone is a major step for us not only because it protects our intellectual property, but because it also moves us in the direction of becoming a significant innovator of devices to help improve outcomes of surgical procedures."