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USRE40156: Methods for repairing damaged intervertebral discs

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Filing Information

Inventor(s) Lewis Sharps · David C. Hovda · Jean Woloszko · Hira V. Thapliyal · Philip E. Eggers ·
Assignee(s) ArthroCare Corporation ·
Attorney/Agent(s) Brian E. Szymczak ·
Primary Examiner Lee S. Cohen ·
Application Number US10682600
Filing date 10/09/2003
Issue date 03/18/2008
Predicted expiration date 06/07/2015
U.S. Classifications 606/32  · 607/105  · 604/114  · 604/35  · 607/113  · 606/41  ·
International Classifications A61B1814  ·
Kind CodeE1
Related U.S. Application DataCROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
The present invention This application is a REISSUE application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/676,194, filed Sep. 28, 2000. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/676,194, filed Sep. 28, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,602,248 claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/224,107, filed Aug. 9, 2000, and from PCT and is also a continuation-in-part application of International Application No. PCT/US00/13706, filed May 17, 2000, and which claims priority from U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/316,472, filed May 21, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,624,650, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/295,687, filed Apr. 21, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,203,542, and U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 09/054,323, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,063,079, and 09/268,616, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,159,208, filed Apr. 2, 1998 and Mar. 15, 1999, respectively, each of which are continuation-in-parts of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/990,374, filed Dec. 15, 1997, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,109,268, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/485,219, filed on Jun. 7, 1995, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,697,281, the complete disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference for all purposes. This application U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/676,194, filed Sep. 28, 2000, is also a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/026,851, filed Feb. 20, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,277,112, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/690,159, filed Jul. 18, 1996, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,902,272, the complete disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.
58 Claims, 48 Drawings


Abstract

Apparatus and methods for treating an intervertebral disc by ablation of disc tissue. A method of the invention includes positioning at least one active electrode within the intervertebral disc, and applying at least a first high frequency voltage between the active electrode(s) and one or more return electrode(s), wherein the volume of the nucleus pulposus is decreased, pressure exerted by the nucleus pulposus on the annulus fibrosus is reduced, and discogenic pain of a patient is alleviated. In other embodiments, a curved or steerable probe is guided to a specific target site within a disc to be treated, and the disc tissue at the target site is ablated by application of at least a first high frequency voltage between the active electrode(s) and one or more return electrode(s). A method of making an electrosurgical probe is also disclosed.

Independent Claims | See all claims (58)

  1. 1. A method of treating an inter-vertebral disc, comprising: a) contacting at least a first region of a nucleus pulposus of the inter-vertebral disc with at least one active electrode of an electrosurgical system, the at least one active electrode disposed on a shaft of an electrosurgical probe, and the at least one active electrode functionally coupled to a power supply unit; and b) applying a first high frequency voltage between the at least one active electrode and at least one return electrode, wherein at least a portion of the nucleus pulposus is ablated and the volume of the nucleus pulposus is decreased .
  2. 33. A method of treating an inter-vertebral disc, comprising: providing an electrosurgical system including a probe and a power supply unit, wherein the probe includes a shaft and a handle, the shaft including a distal end portion, at least one active electrode, and at least one return electrode, the at least one active electrode located on the distal end portion of the shaft, the distal end portion of the shaft having a pre-defined bias in the longitudinal direction thereof; inserting the distal end portion of the shaft within the disc; and ablating at least a portion of nucleus pulposus tissue from the disc, wherein at least one channel is formed within the nucleus pulposus tissue.
  3. 43. A method of treating an inter-vertebral disc with an electrosurgical system, the electrosurgical system including a probe having a shaft, the shaft including a shaft distal end portion, an active electrode disposed on the shaft distal end portion, and a return electrode disposed proximal to the active electrode, the method comprising: a) contacting a nucleus pulposus of the disc with the active electrode; b) applying a high frequency voltage between the active electrode and the return electrode, wherein the high frequency voltage is sufficient to ablate disc tissue; and c) during the applying step, translating the shaft distal end portion within the nucleus pulposus, wherein tissue of the nucleus pulposus is ablated and the volume of the nucleus pulposus is decreased.

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