North Downs Specialist Referrals (NDSR) in Surrey is pioneering the use of Neuromed Invetra, a new spinal stabilisation system which uses screws rather than bone cement.

Dr Guillaume Leblond, an American specialist in veterinary neurology at NDSR said: “Traditionally, bone cement has been used to provide support and stabilisation when treating veterinary spinal instability cases.

“Polyaxial pedicle screws have proven a very reliable and efficient way of treating such spinal problems in human medicine.

“These special screws can be inserted in the vertebrae and connected to strong metal rods instead of bone cement and we’re now very excited to be offering this new service to our patients.

“The main advantage to this cutting-edge procedure is its flexibility.

"Once cement is set in place it is obviously very hard to move, manipulate or remove should you need to adjust or correct.

“With the metal rod and screw system, it is more adaptable and you can adjust it far more easily and quickly.

“It may also be less prone to infection compared to cement, which has been known to harbour bacteria sometimes causing infections several years after the surgery.

"Another hope we have for this system is that it will be less prone to failure compared to cement, especially on extended stabilisation constructs.

Guillaume added: “The neurology team at NDSR has been training in applying this new system as soon as it became available and we have already used it to treat two dogs, both of them having surgery on the same day.

“One was a golden retriever treated by my colleagues Rodolfo Cappello (head of neurology) and Natalie West (neurology resident), and the other was a whippet under my care.

"They were two very different sizes of dog but both operations went well.

“We are grateful to OrthomedTM, the company manufacturing the stabilization system, provided all necessary details to plan the surgeries as precisely as possible.

“We also collaborated with Vet3DTM to create patient specific 3D printed guides to ensure the precise placement of screws and it proved a great solution in both cases.”

“Admittedly, it is still early days for the introduction of this new spinal stabilisation system but we are optimistic it will prove a significant advancement in treating many spinal problems.”

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