The Challenge

Design surgical instruments that make spinal surgery less demanding.

Impact

Initial tests show the new powered instrument system significantly reduces the time and improves the accuracy of reconstructive spinal surgery procedures.

The Outcome

The POWEREASE surgical instrument system, a next-generation set of surgery tools.

Family Shot

While reconstructive spinal surgeries can be life-changing, even minimally invasive spinal procedures can require hours under anesthesia for patients, and be physically demanding for surgeons and staff. Over time, the repetitive physical strain can limit the ability of highly skilled orthopedic surgeons to perform these surgeries.

Spinal-surgery company Medtronic partnered with IDEO to design, engineer, and build POWEREASE, a next-generation surgical instrument system that revolutionizes the techniques used to perform spinal surgeries. The result is a system of powered medical tools created specifically to meet the needs of surgeons during reconstructive procedures.

By integrating cutting-edge industrial design, human-centered research findings, and boundary-pushing engineering work, the team was able to solve some highly technical challenges, like efficiently breaking off set screws while imparting minimal torque on the surgical construct in the patient, and seamlessly integrating nerve monitoring and image navigation capabilities into the instruments.

Medtronic’s initial tests show that when compared to manual instruments, the new powered instrument system significantly reduces the time and improves the accuracy of reconstructive spinal surgery procedures.