Mark Chua
Product Manager, Medline Industries, Inc.

While there have been advances in retraction for deeper cavity surgery with fixed surgical retractors, there has not been as much progression in minimally invasive procedures and, in particular, those with more superficial incisions.

The challenge, of course, is to fit metal instruments into an already-small surgical field, where space is at an utmost premium. These include areas like the hands and wrists, head and neck, the perinea, as well as in pediatrics. All surgical site accessibility is hindered by any sort of instrument or hand in the field, but the issue is exacerbated in tight, small spots.

Even self-retaining retractors, such as the Weitlaner, have their limitations. While they eliminate an assistant’s pair of hands from the surgical field, the mere nature of a bulky metal retractor sitting unsecured on the field leaves it exposed for incidental bumping, nudging, as well as raises the surgical field above the incision, turning it into a potential obstacle.

While there will always be a place for these instruments, a more elegant solution would be beneficial – one that is low profile, less-intrusive, while at the same time providing the exposure and self-retention that a Weitlaner does.

One example of this is Medline’s ReeTrakt system. It is primarily made of Tyvek, which enables it to lay flat against the patient and completely unobtrusive. Being based on the patient’s skin, it is also is self-retaining. One doctor’s published article indicates that it helps reduce AV fistula procedure time by 36% or 24 minutes per procedure.

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