Queens Woman Receives 3D-Printed Titanium Spinal Implant at North Shore University Hospital

Kim Pierre, a recipient of the 3D-printed CASCADIA titanium spinal implant.

Kim Pierre, 54, a nurse from Elmont, Queens, was among the first group of patients at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) to receive a 3D-printed titanium spinal implant as part of spinal decompression and fusion surgery. The procedure was performed on March 28 by Mark B. Eisenberg, MD, neurosurgeon at Northwell Health’s Neuroscience Institute.

Ms. Pierre has suffered from debilitating back pain for 13 years as a result of spondylosis, a disease which causes degeneration and instability of the spine and compression of spinal nerves. Over the years, she tried several non-surgical treatment options, including epidural steroid injections and chiropractor spinal manipulations. Nothing helped alleviate her pain. Because she’s a nurse – and being alert is a vital requirement of her job – taking pain medications were not an option. After meeting Ms. Pierre, taking her medical history, examining her and reviewing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, Dr. Eisenberg recommended a decompressive laminectomy with spinal fusion.  

“Decompressive laminectomy is a procedure commonly used to treat spinal stenosis,” said Dr. Eisenberg. “It helps to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve roots. In this procedure, parts of the vertebrae are removed that are causing narrowing of the spinal canal and pinching of nerve roots. In addition to a decompressive laminectomy, some patients, like Ms. Pierre, also require a spinal fusion at the same time in order to stabilize the spine. In this procedure, the bone removed during the decompression is ground up and used to make a bridge between the vertebrae. An addition of a metal scaffolding is placed consisting of screws and rods to hold the vertebrae together until new bone grows between the vertebrae.”

Ms. Pierre was among the first patients at NSUH to receive a new type of implant, the CASCADIA™, which is made from titanium powder and manufactured with 3D-printing. The 3D-printing technology allows the manufacture of synthetic implants that are not only strong, but allow for the patient’s own bone to grow into the frame to provide a long-term physiologic fusion. The CASCADIA implant, developed by the global medical device company, K2M Group Holdings, Inc., was approved last year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

 “The implant has the benefits of being completely synthetic, which means we don’t have to use bone from somewhere else in her body or from a cadaver, which makes the procedure safer for Ms. Pierre,” said Dr. Eisenberg. “In addition, the 3D-printing technology allows K2M to manufacture implants that are designed and constructed in a way to allow her own bone to latch onto the implant and fuse it to her spine.”    

Ms. Pierre is excited to have a life with more mobility after her surgery. “I am looking forward to walking outside for blocks at a time,” she said.


About Northwell Health’s Neuroscience Institute
Northwell Health’s Neuroscience Institute is a large and comprehensive team of professionals that provide neurosurgery and neurology services across the Greater New York region – from Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Suffolk County. Our physicians cover all subspecialties within the neurosciences, accept most insurance plans and pride themselves in providing excellent and ethical care. For more information, click here.

About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 21 hospitals and over 550 outpatient facilities. We care for more than two million people annually in the metro New York area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 61,000 employees – 15,000+ nurses and nearly 3,400 physicians, including nearly 2,700 members of Northwell Health Physician Partners -- are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. And we offer health insurance through CareConnect. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit Northwell.edu.

Michelle Pipia-Stiles
[email protected]