Nanotechnology in Spine Surgery: a current update and critical review of literature
Publication date: Available online 14 November 2018
Source: World Neurosurgery
Author(s): Vibhu Krishnan Viswanathan, Sakthivel Rajan Rajaram Manoharan, Surabhi Subramanian, Andrew Moon
Nanotechnology is a promising field with numerous applications across various branches of medicine. The unique innate physical, chemical and biological properties of nano-particles enable them to serve as appropriate agents performing diverse functions at cellular and sub-cellular levels. Spinal pathologies constitute one major field where its applications are being explored.
A critical review of literature was performed to identify the current role of nanotechnology in spine surgery. A pubmed search was done using keywords “nanotechnology in neurosurgery”, “nanotechnology in surgery”, “nanotechnology in spine”, “nanotechnology in spine surgery”, “nanotechnology in disc regeneration”, “nanotechnology in spinal injury”, “nanotechnology in spinal cord regeneration”, “nanotechnology in spine fusion”, “nanotechnology in osteoporosis”, nanotechnology in spinal drug delivery and “nanotechnology in spinal infection”. Initial search revealed 347 articles. Articles were further screened. Duplicate articles, articles on non-nanotechnological topics, non-spine articles or articles with details not pertaining to the current field of interest and non-English language studies were excluded.
A total of 76 articles were finally included. Nanotechnological advancements in spine surgery include applications in spinal fusion, CNS drug delivery, neuronal regeneration, disc regeneration, spinal infection prophylaxis, management of osteoporosis, sutureless vascular anastomosis, molecular imaging and theranostic medicine.
Nanotechnology in spine surgery is still in its early stages. Eventually, we may see the implementation of nanotechnology as an alternative to existing treatment options. Concerns regarding safety of this technology need to be addressed through future research projects. Although promising, exact role of nanotechnology in spine surgery remains to be seen.
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