Surgical access system and related methods

  • US 7,905,840 B2
  • Filed: 10/18/2004
  • Issued: 03/15/2011
  • Est. Priority Date: 10/17/2003
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. A method included in providing surgical access to a spinal target site in a human patient through a substantially lateral, retroperitoneal approach, the method comprising:

  • inserting at least a portion of a finger of a surgeon through a first, posteriolateral incision and into a retroperitoneal space;

    sweeping at least a portion of the finger in the retroperitoneal space;

    inserting a distal tip of a dilation member through a second, substantially lateral incision and into the retroperitoneal space;

    using at least a portion of the finger to guide the distal tip of the dilation member within the retroperitoneal space toward a psoas muscle; and

    advancing the distal tip of the dilation member in a substantially lateral direction through the psoas muscle toward a spinal target site while using a stimulation electrode on the dilation member to monitor for the presence of nerves in the vicinity of the dilation member.

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