Orthopedic spinal surgeon Gary Michelson has a portfolio of over 250 U.S. and 500 foreign patents related to spinal fusion and surgical implants. His inventions have advanced spinal surgery with minimally invasive procedures, devices, and surgical tools that are central to many spinal surgery systems. Annual sales for spinal devices currently exceed $4 billion.
Over 65 million Americans suffer from back pain, with over 650,000 surgeries performed each year. By age 50, over 85% of the population shows some sign of disc degeneration. Spinal fusion strives to prevent motion at the painful vertebral segment to decrease pain. Other conditions that may warrant spinal fusion are fractures, scoliosis, or a weak and unstable spine.
One of Michelson's devices is a threaded cage which is implanted between two vertebrae, then packed with bone graft. Recent methods for spinal fusion, including the use of a protein to encourage bone growth, eliminate the need for obtaining a bone graft from the patient.
Michelson, a native of Philadelphia, attended Temple University and Hahnemann Medical College. He began inventing tools and devices in his garage, and he eventually turned his hobby into Karlin Technology, Inc., a technology licensing company. He is now involved with the creation of an open architecture library of digital downloadable college textbooks.