Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The Circle Game - Back to the Future
Life imitates art. Like art, there is a cycle in any relationship from its beginning to end. Every relationship has a turning point. Back in 1968 Joni Mitchell wrote, "and the seasons they go round and round and the painted ponies go up and down, we're captive on the carousel of time, we can't return we can only look behind from where we came and go round and round in the circle game." With today's announcement that Wenzel Spine had hired Jon Luedke as EVP, TSB thought it be interesting to get our bloggers take on a device that is touted as simple, dependable and proven, or is that the company mantra? Could Joni Mitchell have been incorrect when she sang that "we can't return, we can only look back from where we came and go round and round in the circle game?" Are we going back to the future? Marty and George McFly would be proud. Wasn't that another father and son team? Could this be another American science-fiction comedy? Many years ago the industry attempted to market the cylindrical cage as a panacea for degenerative back disease. For those that have been in the industry less than five years you probably don't realize that the cage as you know it today evolved from carbon fiber and titanium alloys into PEEK. Back in its heyday, when spine surgeons stumbled upon the hammer, everything became a nail, especially neurosurgeons. Some were attempting to implant the cylindrical cage without augmenting it with posterior fixation. The procedure was better known as the "stand-alone cage." Based on the Wenzel website, it seems that the VariLift is attempting to take the industry back in time when gasoline was $2.00 a gallon and a half of gallon of milk was $2.69. If the VariLift is a proven alternative to traditional spinal fusion does this make it a non-traditional alternative? Why is everyone looking for the holy grail claiming that they are simplifying surgery when there is nothing simple to begin with? TSB must admit that Mr.Luedke has an ominous task ahead of him, if his new employers believe that this is new technology. At best, its an old technology with a new spin, besides there are other patents out there for expandable cages that are sitting on some people's shelves collecting dust. Could Marty be attempting to convince us that he is from the future and asking for our help to return back to 2001? This time machine may need a little more than 1.21 gigawatts of power. It may take a bolt of lightening to awaken everyone at Wenzel to bring them back to the future. TSB wants to know what our bloggers think, is this something old, something new, something borrowed, or something blue or just a silver six pence in their shoe?