• ArthroCare (Austin, Texas) said it has received FDA clearance for its cavity SpineWand to reduce malignant lesions within the vertebrae, via a minimally invasive, surgical procedure to remove malignant tissue within vertebrae, creating a small cavity. Medical grade cement can then be injected into the cavity, stabilizing the fracture. This procedure does not eliminate other therapeutic options for the patient such as radiation or chemotherapy. The SpineWand is inserted through the cannula under radiographic guidance and is activated once it reaches the tumor. A small, highly localized plasma cloud removes tumor material while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. ArthroCare makes minimally invasive surgical products.

• Globus Medical (Audubon, Pennsylvania) reported the introduction of the MARS minimal access retractor system. MARS is a retractor system designed to provide efficient access to the lumbar spine through small incisions. The system, comprised of retractors, ports and other instruments, enables surgeons to safely perform discectomies, posterior lateral fusions and interbody fusions with relative ease and efficiency. The retractor frame features a removable medial blade for increased adaptability; individually retracted blades at three positions; a release lever to relax retractor tension on tissue; cephalad, caudad and lateral blade retraction to allow for multi-level procedures. Globus Medical is a spinal implant manufacturer.

• Haemoscope (Niles, Illinois) has released PlateletMapping assays, two new assays that combine automated platelet aggregation with the company's TEG 5000 (Thrombelastograph) hemostasis system. The assays measure inhibited platelet function against maximum platelet function for optimal antiplatelet therapy. The assays demonstrate the degree of inhibition by different platelet inhibitors. A feature of the assays is that they also provide maximum platelet function, which can be used as a reference point for determining an anti-platelet regimen. The TEG analyzer, using a small whole blood sample, measures all phases of hemostasis and documents the interaction of platelets with the protein coagulation cascade from the time the blood is placed in the analyzer until initial fibrin formation, clot rate strengthening, and fibrinplatelet bonding via GPIIb/IIIa, through eventual clot lysis.

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