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TransCorp Spine surgical system attracts national peer-review award

December 25, 2012
| By Pete Daly |
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TransCorp Spine surgical system attracts national peer-review award
The Brain + Spine Center’s Dr. David W. Lowry, left, and physician assistant Scott M. Tuinstra in surgery. Courtesy Brain + Spine Center

The Brain + Spine Center in Holland Township has announced that the SpinePort surgical system co-invented by the clinic’s neurosurgeon, Dr. David W. Lowry, and physician assistant Scott M. Tuinstra has received a 2012 Spine Tech Award from the trade publication Orthopedics This Week.

The publication’s annual awards are determined by a peer-review process and recognize the best products, engineers and inventors in spine surgery. The 2012 Spine Tech Award in the cervical, neck category was presented to TransCorp Spine, an Ada-based company that markets the SpinePort and was launched by Lowry in 2007.

“They are decided in a peer-review manner,” said Lowry, “so thought-leading surgeons, both neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons, sit on a panel that determines who will get these awards. We were fortunate enough to be selected.”

The SpinePort System provides precise instrument control needed by surgeons to more effectively perform transcorporeal microdecompression, a minimally invasive alternative to fusion of spinal discs or total disc replacement. This newer procedure helps retain the natural movement in the neck, along with the potential of returning the patient to normal activity in a much shorter time.

Lowry said the traditional surgery to remove herniated disc fragments or bone spurs will often require a fusion or a disc replacement. The patient’s recovery time — the time off from work — from fusion or disc replacement can vary from four to eight weeks.

“With this newer technique, we are able to get half of the patients back to work within five days,” said Lowry.

“While this approach is not appropriate for all patients with neck spine problems, for the right patient, this can really get them back into normal life more quickly,” he added.

Lowry's and Tuinstra’s names are on the patent issued for the SpinePort System, in addition to Hope College engineering professor Roger Veldman and Desmond O’Farrell, an executive at TransCorp Spine.

The SpinePort was approved for use by the FDA in September.

“It is definitely an honor to be singled out for the innovation in our field. The greatest satisfaction is seeing patients enjoy a life of motion again. I have literally been hugged because of TCMD outcomes,” said Tuinstra.

In addition to practicing medicine at The Brain + Spine Center, Lowry is a founder of several privately held, early stage medical device companies developing minimally invasive and tissue-saving products and procedures for the treatment of spinal and neurological pathologies.

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