Insight Retractor and Tube Systems

Michael Gabi, Roger Härtl, Nicholas Theodore, Rudolf Bertagnoli
The insight retractor and tube systems are minimally invasive posterior lumbar access systems. These systems are utilized by surgeons for performance of decompressions, microdiscectomies, laminectomies, and interbody fusion procedures.

Traditional open posterior lumbar spine procedures require extensive soft-tissue dissection and can result in significant blood loss and long patient recovery times.

Minimally invasive surgical (MIS) techniques in spine surgery have been improved in the last decade with the goals of reduced approach related morbidity, blood loss, and scarring as well as improved recovery times and shorter hospital stays.

The insight retractor and tube systems are versatile in blade configuration and the selection of blades and tubes provide direct minimal access to the operative level. The blades and tubes are radiolucent allowing for visualization of bony anatomy and disc space. The light clips available in both systems illuminate the surgical field.

The tube system includes a series of 35 access tubes with diameters ranging from 16-28 mm and length ranging from 30-90 mm. It can be used for a wide range of surgeries, including micro-discectomies and TLIF procedures, such as OPAL and T-PAL. Both systems also work together with MIS support system to provide stability and the dilation system for initial atraumatic access to the operative site. Insight retractor designs feature a wide variety of cranial/caudal and lateral blade types together with a Hudson connector for connection with MIS support flex arm and color-coded dilators.


A 45-year-old woman who had failed nonoperative treatment underwent a minimally invasive decompression, facetectomy, discectomy, and interbody fusion via a right-sided approach through a 22 mm insight retractor. Subsequent instrumentation was performed through an ipsilateral miniopen and contralateral percutaneous approach (not shown).

Case provided by Roger Hrtl, New York, New York, USA


Hazards and labeling

Due to varying countries’ legal and regulatory approval requirements, consult the appropriate local product labeling for approved intended use of the products described on this website. All devices on this website are approved by the AO Technical Commission. For logistical reasons, these devices may not be available in all countries worldwide at the date of publication. 

Legal restrictions

This work was produced by AO Foundation, Switzerland. All rights reserved by AO Foundation. This publication, including all parts thereof, is legally protected by copyright.

Any use, exploitation or commercialization outside the narrow limits set forth by copyright legislation and the restrictions on use laid out below, without the publisher‘s consent, is illegal and liable to prosecution. This applies in particular to photostat reproduction, copying, scanning or duplication of any kind, translation, preparation of microfilms, electronic data processing, and storage such as making this publication available on Intranet or Internet.

Some of the products, names, instruments, treatments, logos, designs, etc referred to in this publication are also protected by patents, trademarks or by other intellectual property protection laws (eg, “AO” and the AO logo are subject to trademark applications/registrations) even though specific reference to this fact is not always made in the text. Therefore, the appearance of a name, instrument, etc without designation as proprietary is not to be construed as a representation by the publisher that it is in the public domain.

Restrictions on use: The rightful owner of an authorized copy of this work may use it for educational and research purposes only. Single images or illustrations may be copied for research or educational purposes only. The images or illustrations may not be altered in any way and need to carry the following statement of origin “Copyright by AO Foundation, Switzerland”.

Check for more information.


If you have any comments or questions on the articles or the new devices, please do not hesitate to contact us

“approved by AO Technical Commission” and “approved by AO Foundation”
The brands and labels “approved by AO Technical Commission” and “approved by AO Foundation”, particularly "AO" and the AO logo, are AO Foundation's intellectual property and subject to trademark applications and registrations, respectively. The use of these brands and labels is regulated by licensing agreements between AO Foundation and the producers of innovation products obliged to use such labels to declare the products as AO Technical Commission or AO Foundation approved solutions. Any unauthorized or inadequate use of these trademarks may be subject to legal action.

AO ITC Innovations Magazine

Find all issues of the AO ITC Innovations Magazine for download here.

Meet the Experts

Directly learn about AO Approved Solutions from the Experts themselves.

Innovation Awards

Recognizing outstanding achievements in development and fostering excellence in surgical innovation.