No assignee for this patent application, patent application serial number 878081, has been made.
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "It is often necessary or desirable to administer, deliver or inject fluid to a particular target location or zone in the human body for therapeutic or diagnostic treatments or procedures. This can include a variety of different fluids, including orthopedic cements and other bone augmentation materials, drugs, contrast agents, cell-based treatment materials such as stem cells, and other fluids, and for a variety of different diagnostic or therapeutic treatments or procedures. Although the subject matter of this disclosure is not limited to orthopedic treatments in general or spinal treatments in particular. Treatment of spinal conditions, including treatment of compression fractures of the vertebra, is an area where injection of a fluid, typically bone cement, growth stimulant or other bone augmentation material, is a particularly common treatment, and such treatment is illustrative of many of the features on the subject matter described herein.
"One common spinal condition that involves the injection of fluid as part of the treatment is referred to as vertebral compression fractures, or VCF. This refers to fracture of the vertebral body, which may occur in various ways, the most common of which is the result of osteoporosis, and is becoming more common as a result of the aging adult population. Of course, VCF can arise from other conditions, such spinal malignancies or impact accidents.
"Referring to FIGS. 1-4 for background and general anatomical understanding, illustrated there are examples a human vertebral body that is healthy and one that that has been subject to a VCF. Specifically, FIG. 1 illustrates a portion of a healthy human spine or spinal column, generally designated as 100, free from injury. In contrast, FIG. 2 illustrates a vertebral column 128 having a VCF 134 in the middle vertebra 132.
"The vertebral column 100 of FIG. 1 includes adjacent vertebrae 102, 102a and 102b and intervertebral disks 104, 104a, 104b and 104c separating the adjacent vertebrae. FIG. 3 illustrates in more detail a normal vertebra, as viewed looking down at the top of the vertebra, with a portion of the top or superior endplate 112 removed. FIG. 4 shows a normal vertebra, as viewed from the side.
"Turning to FIG. 3, the vertebra, generally designated as 102, includes a vertebral body 106 that is roughly cylindrically, somewhat oval, and comprised of inner spongy cancellous bone 108 surrounded by the cortical rim 110, which is comprised of a thin layer of dense compact cortical bone. The body 106 of the vertebra is capped at the top by the superior endplate 112 and at the bottom by an inferior endplate 114, made of a cartilaginous layer (see FIG. 3). To the posterior (or rear) of the vertebral body 106 is the vertebral foramen 116, which contains the spinal cord (not shown). On either side of the vertebral foramen 116 are the bony pedicles 118, 118a, which lead to the spinous process 120. Other elements of the vertebra include the transverse process 122, the superior articular process 124 and the inferior articular process 126.
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