A manufacturer of surgical instruments is using Bal Spring®, canted coil springs to give doctors new insight into critical spinal procedures.

Massachusetts-based Life Instruments Corp. has designed the springs into its Radiolucent Cervical Retractor. According to the company’s president and CEO, Larry Foley, the springs act as “markers” under x-ray, and allow for the integration of polymer retractor blades that offer improved visibility over traditional stainless steel.

“Standard retractors, which are made completely from stainless, can impede the surgeon’s ability to see critical areas during spinal surgeries,” says Foley. “We wanted to design a blade that would be invisible under x-ray, but we still needed to provide some visual reference for positioning purposes. The canted coil springs allow us to do that.”

During spinal procedures, surgeons use a cervical retractor to spread both the skin and muscles surrounding the spine in order to repair the vertebrae.