Surgical access system and related methods

  • US 7,582,058 B1
  • Filed: 06/26/2003
  • Issued: 09/01/2009
  • Est. Priority Date: 06/26/2002
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. A method of accessing a surgical target site, comprising the steps of:

  • creating an initial distraction corridor through tissue extending between an incision point and a surgical target site via an initial distraction assembly including a K-wire and at least one dilator capable of being slideably passed over said K-wire;

    distracting said tissue from said initial distraction corridor to a secondary distraction corridor with an instrument capable of being guided to said surgical target site along said at least one dilator of said initial distraction assembly;

    introducing a plurality of retractor blades for retracting said tissue from said secondary distraction corridor to create an operative corridor to said surgical target site; and

    providing a control unit capable of electrically stimulating at least one stimulation electrode provided on said initial distraction assembly, sensing a response of a nerve depolarized by said stimulation, determining at least one of nerve proximity and nerve direction from said initial distraction assembly to the nerve based upon the sensed response, and communicating to a user at least one of visual indicia and audio communications representing at least one of said determined nerve proximity and said determined nerve direction.

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