Surgical access system and related methods

  • US 7,691,057 B2
  • Filed: 01/16/2004
  • Issued: 04/06/2010
  • Est. Priority Date: 01/16/2003
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. A surgical access system for accessing a target site within a spine, comprising:

  • a distraction assembly comprising at least two dilators adapted for sequential insertion to a surgical target site within a spine to create a distraction corridor to said surgical target site, a larger of said at least two dilators having an exterior circumference;

    a primary retractor assembly having a handle assembly and a plurality of retractor blades coupled to said handle assembly and extending generally perpendicularly relative to arm portions of the handle assembly, each of said plurality of retractor blades having a generally concave inner face and a generally convex exterior face, said plurality of retractor blades abutting each other in a closed position and forming a closed perimeter, said perimeter defining a lumen having an internal circumference larger than said external circumference of said larger dilator such that said plurality of retractor blades are deliverable to said surgical target site simultaneously over said larger dilator while in said closed position, said plurality of retractor blades being movable relative to each other to an open position forming an open perimeter and wherein said internal circumference is enlarged relative to said closed position to create and maintain an operative corridor to said surgical target site, wherein said plurality of retractor blades includes a cephalad-most and a caudal-most blade when said primary retractor assembly is delivered to said surgical target site, said cephalad-most blade is movable relative to said caudal-most blade in a cephalad direction when said plurality of blades are moved to said open position; and

    a supplemental retractor assembly having an arm with an additional retractor blade coupled to said arm, said arm being selectively positionable adjacent to said primary retractor assembly subsequent to moving said plurality of retractor blades into said open position such that said additional blade fills a space in said open perimeter, said supplemental blade being moveable in a direction generally perpendicular to said cephalad direction to further expand said operative corridor.

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