Medtronic Launches Minimally Invasive Spinal Procedure for Treatment of Low Back Pain


MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BW HealthWire)--April 15, 2002--

CD HORIZON(R) SEXTANT(TM) System for Spinal Fusion

Headlines Portfolio of Next-Generation

Surgical Products Enhancing Patient Recovery

Medtronic Sofamor Danek, the spinal and cranial surgery unit of Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT) and a leading developer of spinal technologies, has created a new surgical technique that can significantly reduce the size of the incision and the resulting scarring, pain and recovery times associated with conventional spinal fusion surgery.

Introduced to the nation's leading spine surgeons at the recent 70th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in Chicago, the CD HORIZON(R) SEXTANT(TM) System uses a novel mechanical arc device that delivers a rod and screws to rigidly fixate adjoining vertebrae, through small skin incisions with minimal cutting or stripping of the muscles from the spine. No other available product allows the lumbar spine to be stabilized with less trauma to the muscle and surrounding tissue.

Low back pain affects four out of five Americans at some point in their lives and is the second most frequent reported reason for visiting a doctor. More than 150,000 lumbar spinal fusions are performed each year to treat common spinal conditions such as degenerative disc disease and spondylolisthesis, or misaligned vertebrae. Spinal fusions "weld" unstable vertebrae together to eliminate pain caused by their movement. But, post-operative pain, recovery time and rehabilitation are significantly affected by the amount of muscle damage incurred during traditional fusion surgeries.

"The CD HORIZON SEXTANT Spinal System is to spinal fusion surgery what arthroscopy is to knee surgery and laparoscopy is to gall bladder surgery," said Dr. Kevin Foley, an associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Tennessee and Semmes-Murphey Clinic, who designed and developed the system with Medtronic Sofamor Danek and has used it in dozens of operations. "We're seeing hospital stays reduced to two or three days, versus the typical week-long hospital stay, because the operation causes so much less trauma than traditional surgery. Even better, preliminary clinical experience is confirming this to be a highly reliable and effective technique for stabilizing the spine. We're now moving spine surgery in directions that give patients reliable options without as much pain and prolonged recovery as is associated with traditional procedures."

The CD HORIZON SEXTANT Spinal System is just one of a portfolio of minimally invasive spinal surgery advances created under Medtronic's pioneering Minimal Access Spinal Technologies (MAST) initiative. The MAST initiative offers industry-leading procedures that focus on correction of spinal deformities and reduction of pain with minimal impact on patients' lives. The advanced navigation and instrumentation technologies in MAST procedures allow surgeons to operate with smaller incisions and less tissue damage than traditional surgeries, thus reducing the pain, blood loss and recovery periods associated with them. In addition to fusing vertebrae, the MAST initiative includes procedures that treat common herniated disc problems and spinal curvature. These new technologies will be introduced in the coming months.

"Spine surgeons have longed for techniques to help the thousands of people whose chronic pain and deformity drive them to undergo some of the most challenging surgeries known," said Michael DeMane, president of Medtronic Spinal, ENT and SNT. "We want surgeons and patients to know that, through Minimal Access Spinal Technologies, we are committed to providing creative solutions that reduce pain and return patients to fuller lives."

Medtronic, Inc. (www.medtronic.com), headquartered in Minneapolis, is the world's leading medical technology company, providing lifelong solutions for people with chronic disease. Medtronic Sofamor Danek, headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., develops and manufactures products that treat a variety of disorders of the cranium and spine, including traumatically induced conditions, deformities and tumors. More company and MAST information can be found at www.medtronicsofamordanek.com and www.back.com.
Any statements made regarding the company's anticipated financial results and regulatory approvals are forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties, such as those described in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended April 27, 2001. Actual results may differ materially from anticipated results.

CONTACT:

Medtronic, Inc., Minneapolis

Investor Relations:

Kevin Lee, 763/505-2695

or

Public Relations:

Bob Hanvik, 763/505-2635

SOURCE: Medtronic, Inc.