Aesculap Implant Systems (AIS) has made S4 Element Pedicle Screw System available to a select group of surgeons since May of previous year as part of the company’s Market Preference Evaluation.

Aesculap Implant Systems said that the full launch of the system is planned for the second quarter of 2010, at which time the system will be released to surgeons throughout the US.

It is estimated that over 450,000 thoracolumbar fusions are performed in the US annually to treat spinal disorders. The surgeons rely on an open approach to decompress the site and utilize spinal instrumentation like S4 Element to stabilize until spinal fusion occurs.

Some of S4 Element’s features include an Ultra Low Profile screw head for minimal impingement of anatomical structures and new placement instruments, like the speed multiplier handle, which facilitates tapping and screw placement at a 3.5 times faster rate without altering bone screw thread properties.

The S4 Element System is expected to be sold through the Aesculap Implant Systems direct and indirect sales network.

Steven Beer of Cheyenne Regional Medical Center located in Cheyenne, Wyoming, one of the designers for the system, said: “S4 Element provides surgeons with a unique and innovative solution for screw delivery while maintaining ideal bone screw properties in an anatomically friendly size offering.”

Chuck DiNardo, president of Aesculap Implant Systems, said: “Launching S4 Element will allow our surgeons the flexibility to decide based on individual patient needs whether to use Aesculap’s original S4 tabbed pedicle screw or S4 Element’s tabless pedicle screw.”