icotec AG, a Swiss company, recently announced that the VADER®one pedicle screw system was granted US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance for both minimally-invasive and open spine surgical procedures. VADER®one, made from icotec’s unique BlackArmor® material, was designed for secure stabilisation and post-operative visualisation, which is important after spinal tumour procedures.
In a recent publication, the neurosurgery and radiation oncology group from Technical University of Munich, Germany, stated: “In terms of postoperative evaluation of residual or recurrent tumour within the periphery of the spinal canal and column and for accurate radiation planning, CFRP (carbon fibre-reinforced polyetheretherketone) implants hold major advantages when compared with standard titanium implants by generating significantly fewer image artifacts.” 
VADER®one is made from icotec’s unique BlackArmor® Carbon/PEEK material, which consists of continuous carbon fibres combined with PEEK (polyetheretherketone), and is produced using icotec’s injection moulding CFM (Composite Flow Moulding) manufacturing technology. This process allows for three-dimensionally reinforced, non-metallic implants providing both the strength and radiolucency needed for oncology patients and their treatment.
icotec is the only company manufacturing spinal implants made of radiolucent BlackArmor® Carbon/PEEK composite material. Implants made of BlackArmor® are biocompatible and have been successfully implanted for more than 15 years. Their X-ray, CT and MRI translucency makes a significant difference during the surgical procedure, and postoperatively in assessing the site of care. In patients with spinal tumours, optimal delineation of the tumour from healthy tissue can facilitate radiotherapy planning, improve radiosurgery treatment and allow immediate and precise monitoring of possible relapses (tumour recurrence).
“Our ability to use icotec’s BlackArmor® material for stabilising the spine offers advanced-stage tumour patients the ability to consider a larger variety of treatment options with improved therapy planning, dose delivery and follow-up evaluation,” says Roger Stadler, CEO of icotec AG, Switzerland. “It is a great achievement for our company and our employees to obtain FDA clearance, a significant milestone in our company’s history.”
The VADER®one implants are intended to restore the integrity of the spinal column even in the absence of fusion for a limited time period in patients with advanced stage tumours involving the thoracic and lumbar spine in whom life expectancy is of insufficient duration to permit achievement of fusion.
icotec AG is a family-owned SME in Altstaetten, Switzerland established in 1999. icotec designs and manufactures nonmetallic spinal implants made from BlackArmor® (Carbon/PEEK). More than 10,000 icotec BlackArmor® pedicle screws have been implanted in countries outside the USA since their market introduction.
Reference:  Ringel, F., et al., Radiolucent carbon-fiber reinforced pedicle screws for the treatment of spinal tumors: Advantages for radiation planning and follow-up imaging. World Neurosurg, 2017.
Figure 1: VADER®one pedicle system offers clear visualisation of the surgical site post-operatively.
Figure 2: Lateral X-ray image of a patient stabilised with icotec VADER pedicle screw system (courtesy of Professor Meyer, TU Munich, Germany).