The U.S. medical device market is the largest in the world. The U.S. market is valued at approximately $140 billion and is serviced by a medical device industry of about 5,800 companies with over 350,000 employees. One segment of this important industry is dedicated to bone grafting technology. Bone grafting is used in a variety of procedures, including spinal fusion, bone repair, joint replacement, and dental implant. Typically, an incision is made to access the site where the bone graft is to be positioned, the bone graft delivery device is positioned through the incision, and the bone graft delivery device delivers the bone graft through the incision to the bone graft site. Typical bone graft material includes allograft (bone material from a donor, typically a cadaver), autograft (bone material from the patient), or synthetic material. Traditional devices for bone graft surgery include the bone funnel, the syringe, and the cannula. This article examines the key differences among the traditional devices for bone graft delivery and identifies some advances in bone grafting technology over a traditional bone graft delivery system.
A bone funnel is simply a device shaped like a funnel with a flared end connected to a cylinder. Bone graft material is loaded through the flare funnel and pushed through the cylinder with a plunger. The advantage of the bone funnel is that it is relatively simple to operate. The disadvantages of the bone funnel are that it is typically reusable, which means it must be sterilized, and that it cannot be loaded with bone graft material before being positioned or utilize tubes pre-loaded with bone graft material.
A syringe is used in bone graft surgery in the typical manner. The syringe is loaded with bone graft material and delivers the bone graft material to the bone graft site under pressure. The advantage of the syringe is that it typically comes in a single-use, disposable package that is pre-loaded with bone graft material. The syringe does not need to be sterilized before use and can be thrown away after use. The disadvantage is that it may be difficult to position the syringe to deliver bone graft material to the bone graft site, which is why the syringe is often used with the next device, the cannula.
A cannula is used in bone graft surgery with a syringe. The syringe is prepared as described above and connected to a cannula. Again, the cannula is typically a single-use, disposable device. The cannula is positioned through the incision to the bone graft site. The syringe pushes the bone graft material through the syringe and the cannula to the bone graft site.
The Future of Bone Graft Surgery
New technologies, such as the patented Graftgun® device, use a trigger to deliver a controlled amount of bone graft material under controlled pressure. Bone graft material can be pre-loaded into tubes which are then attached to the Graftgun® device.
Technology has evolved from the bone funnel to the patented Graftgun® device. This has made the preparation of bone graft delivery equipment easier and has made use of the bone graft delivery equipment more accurate.