By: 10 October 2023
ATHLET® – Cervical vertebral body replacement from Signus

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ATHLET® is a vertebral body replacement implant used for stabilisation and reconstruction of the cervical spine (C3 – C7). It is used following  cervical corpectomy with anterior access in case of instability and  constrictions due to various underlying causes.

ATHLET® (athlitis = Greek for “the competitor”) meets this challenge! Its unique design combines all the required properties into a single product, making it a winner in its field.

ATHLET® is inserted in the C3 – C7 cervical spinal region with anterior  access. Along with simple implantation, the large supporting surface and the generous fenestration encourage stability as well as osseointegration of the implant. The lordotic implant angle ensures optimal reconstruction of the natural spinal anatomy. 

The inserted cage must be fixed with additional stabilisation. This is  carried out using an anterior CS plate, for example, with the anterior  fixation systems ASCOT® or TOSCA®, which have pre-contoured plates that are coordinated with the lordotic angle of ATHLET® and can be  optionally fixed to the cage with an additional screw. 

Nine implant components and four instruments enable both efficiency in the OR and individual patient requirements to be satisfied thanks to fine height gradations of 16 to 50 mm. The simple click mechanism ensures that the implant components are securely fixed. 


Material details 

PEEK-OPTIMA® is a biocompatible polymer offering a number of benefits for this indication. In its strength it is comparable to cortical bone and  due to its excellent MRI compatibility permits artefact-free follow-up  examinations. The titanium alloy markers are used with X-ray or CT during and after surgery to check that the implant is correctly positioned. 


Product-specific advantages 

  • 9 implant components for 18 heights

Fine height gradations from 16 to 50 mm in 2 mm increments 

Simple click mechanism for secure fixation of the implant components 

  • Lordotic implant design

Optimal reconstruction of the natural spinal anatomy 

  • Large supporting surface combined with generous fenestration

Good implant stability while also promoting osseointegration 

  • Proven SIGNUS toothed cage design

Secure anchoring in the bone thanks to high primary stability 

Reduced risk of implant migration 

  • SIGNUS modular solution

Perfectly compatible with the pre-contoured ASCOT® or TOSCA® CS plates, which can be screwed onto the ATHLET® implant 

  • Titanium alloy marker

Easy and reliable identification and positioning of the implant 


ATHLET® Material 

The implants are made from the following materials:  

Polyether ether ketone (PEEK-OPTIMA®) as per ASTM F2026 

X-ray markers: 

Titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) as per ASTM F 136 / ISO 5832-3 

The materials are established materials for use as an implant. They are biocompatible, corrosion-resistant and non-toxic in the bio-logical environment and enable interference-free X-ray imaging. 

An expert report recommends labelling ATHLET® as ‘MRI condi-tional’. A patient with this implant can be safely scanned in an MRI system in accordance with the justification and the test methods in ASTM F2502.  

Testing of the effects due to forces (ASTM F2052) or torque (ASTM F2213), heating (ASTM F2182) or artefact formation (ASTM F2119) was not carried out for the following reasons: 

  1. Long metallic objects less than 20 mm
  2. Non-metallic PEEK as base material
  3. Metal content less than 16 % proportional weight
  4. Medical devices made of titanium and tantalum are labelled as ‘MRI conditional’ with < 25 T/m
  5. The counterforces of the body hold the implant in position.


SIGNUS system solutionATHLET and TOSCA Standard or TOSCA Expansion 

As with all vertebral body replacement implants, ATHLET® requires  additional stabilisation. This is carried out using an anterior CS plate, for example, with the anterior fixation systems ASCOT® or TOSCA®, which have pre-contoured plates that are coordinated with the lordotic angle of ATHLET and can be optionally fixed to the cage with an additional screw (ATM309). 

It is recommended to use this screw as a plate holder pin so that the screws can subsequently be anchored in the adjacent vertebral bodies.