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Driving Technology

Tue, 06/23/2009 - 8:48am

I'm no surgeon, but I know a surgical breakthrough when I see one. Coming into Surgical Products, I was aware that minimally invasive surgery was a trend on the rise. Now that I'm a few months deep into the industry, I see it's more than a trend. Minimally invasive surgery is becoming the standard of care in the OR.

It is clear why MIS technique is becoming more and more common for surgical procedures. The benefits of MIS are extensive for the patient, not to mention for the surgeon, surgical staff and the hospital as a whole. A minimally invasive surgery for the patient often means less scarring, less pain, as well as a shorter hospital stay and recovery for the patient. For the surgeon and staff in the OR, it means less time spent in the OR, which, for the hospital, is a benefit in terms of cost for the procedure.

Certainly, MIS has its drawbacks, such as difficulty in technique (recall the column from last month's issue regarding the morcellator). However, based on a recent conversation with a surgeon, anything is difficult the first time it's done. Adequate practice and education, and trying it a few times, helps a surgeon hone their skills. With time, the technique will get easier, and the risks less prevalent.

Furthermore, technology is undoubtedly keeping up with the MIS trend. In this issue of Surgical Products, for example, there is an intriguing article on the advancement of NOTES®-Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery. Surgeons in Japan have just completed the fourth ever transvaginal NOTES partial gastrectomy on female patients, and as a result of the NOTES technique, the patients were up walking the day following the procedure. What's more, the instrumentation they used to complete these surgeries, while it can be used in laparoscopic and open surgery, was really designed specifically for NOTES.

I'll let you continue on into the issue to read more about the procedure and its accompanying instrumentation, but the point is, the advancement of MIS-whether it be laparoscopic surgery, NOTES or some other methodology-is not only improving surgical care, but it's driving technology and product development.

As NOTES and other minimally invasive methodologies become the standard of care for surgical patients, the benefits will continue to grow for the surgeon, the staff and the hospital, not only in terms of time and cost, but in terms of the technology that is available to continue to grow surgical technique.

Even in today's economic climate, market research has shown the MIS market for devices and instruments one of the largest growing segments of the medical device industry. That means, as MIS continues to move forward with advancements such as NOTES, more new and improved products will be available for surgeons to make performing these procedures easier, faster and safer.

With these opportunities on the horizon, think of where surgery was 10 years ago, and imagine where surgery will be 10 years from now.

What's your take? Email Amanda McGowan

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