Healthcare Industry News:  discectomy 

Devices Orthopaedic Neurosurgery

 News Release - October 23, 2007

ArthroCare Releases New SpineWand(R) for Less Invasive Spinal Surgeries

ArthroCare's MD SpineWand Uses Smaller Incisions in Routinely Performed Spinal Surgeries

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 23 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- ArthroCare® Corp. (Nasdaq: ARTC ), a leader in developing state-of-the-art, minimally invasive surgical products, announced today at the North American Spine Society Annual Meeting that its MD SpineWand® is now available for use in some of the most common spinal surgeries.

The MD SpineWand is designed to remove soft tissue -- including disc material -- through small incisions, which avoid damage to surrounding structures and anatomy. Lumbar microdiscectomy is the most commonly performed surgical procedure in which disc material is removed. Lumbar microdiscectomy is primarily performed to treat the symptoms associated with a herniated disc. Approximately 400,000 lumbar microdiscectomies are performed each year, and this procedure typically requires a large (approximate 6mm) annulotomy, or incision, made into the outer ring of the disc in order to gain access to the disc tissue. Clinical studies have that shown a large annulotomy weakens the disc and increases the risk of reherniation, requiring follow-up surgery(i).

The device was developed in conjunction with Kevin T. Foley, M.D., F.A.C.S., a renowned minimally invasive spine surgeon and professor of neurosurgery at the University of Tennessee, Memphis.

"The device effectively removes soft tissue, including disc material, and provides patients with the benefits of a less invasive approach," said Dr. Foley. During the less invasive procedure, the MD SpineWand gently and safely removes tissue in a controlled manner using ArthroCare's patented Coblation technology. The MD SpineWand is designed to be inserted into a tiny 2.5 mm access point. Once inserted, it breaks up molecular bonds of soft tissue, rapidly removing tissue volume while preserving the integrity of surrounding tissue.

The MD SpineWand provides controlled tissue removal with Coblation®, a patented technology that uses electrical energy combined with a conductive medium, such as saline solution, to form a plasma that gently and precisely dissolves soft tissue, at relatively low temperatures, minimizing damage to adjacent, healthy tissue.

"The MD SpineWand is the latest application of ArthroCare's Coblation technology in the spine, providing surgeons with a more precise and less invasive way to remove material," said David Applegate, vice president and general manager of ArthroCare Spine.

ABOUT ARTHROCARE

Founded in 1993, ArthroCare Corporation (http://www.arthrocare.com) is a highly innovative, multibusiness medical device company that develops, manufactures and markets minimally invasive surgical products. With these products, ArthroCare targets a multi-billion dollar market opportunity across several medical specialties, significantly improving existing surgical procedures and enabling new, minimally invasive procedures. Many of ArthroCare's products are based on its patented Coblation® technology, which uses low-temperature radiofrequency energy to gently and precisely dissolve rather than burn soft tissue -- minimizing damage to healthy tissue. Used in more than four million surgeries worldwide, Coblation®-based devices have been developed and marketed for sports medicine; spine/neurologic; ear, nose and throat (ENT); cosmetic; urologic and gynecologic procedures. ArthroCare also has added a number of novel technologies to its portfolio, including Opus Medical sports medicine, Parallax spine and Applied Therapeutics ENT products, to complement Coblation® within key indications.

SAFE HARBOR STATEMENTS

Except for historical information, this press release includes forward-looking statements. These statements include, but are not limited to, the company's stated business outlook for fiscal 2007, continued strength of the company's fundamental position, the strength of the company's technology, the company's belief that strategic moves will enhance achievement of the company's long term potential, the potential and expected rate of growth of new businesses, continued success of product diversification efforts, and other statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to the uncertainty of success of the company's non-arthroscopic products, competitive risk, uncertainty of the success of strategic business alliances, uncertainty over reimbursement, need for governmental clearances or approvals before selling products, the uncertainty of protecting the company's patent position, and any changes in financial results from completion of year-end audit activities. These and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including ArthroCare's Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2007 and Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2006. Forward-looking statements are indicated by words or phrases such as "anticipates," "estimates," "projects," "believes," "intends," "expects," and similar words and phrases. Actual results may differ materially from management expectations.

(i) Caragee E.J., et al. Clinical Outcomes After Lumbar discectomy for
Sciatica: The Effects of Fragment Type and Annular Competence. JBJS
2003; 85A:102-108


Source: ArthroCare

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