15 февр. 2012 г.

AAOS 2012: Novel Lighting Technology Helps Orthopaedic Surgeons See What They Are Doing

Invuity is a rare breed of company. It faces “little to no regulatory barriers,” explains the company’s CEO, Philip Sawyer, at AAOS 2012. “And that enables use to develop multiple products and to react quickly and iterate them.”

Founded seven years ago, its lighting technology was initially developed by an optics expert partnering with an orthopaedic surgeon and researcher. The surgeon was working to develop a less-invasive hip for Zimmer and he realized that lighting problems were holding him back. After about five years, the two men had readied their first product: a sophisticated injection-molded optics device the enables orthopedic surgeons to see into small incisions.

The company has been approached by big orthopaedic companies that report they have spent years in vain trying to develop new lighting technologies similar to the firm’s products. “They come to us and say ‘we quit. We need your help.’” Invuity is now “about three weeks from shipping to one of the biggest spinal players,” explains Sawyer.

The company also markets products for breast surgery (through its own sales force) and for spinal surgery (with its sales force working with distributors). Its products are used in less invasive surgeries, where OR surgeons rely on overhead lights or head lamps and it is very difficult to see as you are operating through smaller and smaller incisions.

It developed a core Eigr technology, which uses injected-molded optics and creates a cool glare and shadow-free light. It is integrated in a clever way with access devices, whether those are retractors or whether it is a coupled to a suction device. And the technology creates a nice pattern of light on the tissue. “It looks more straightforward than it is,” Sawyer says. The technology turns the light and in an optimally efficienty way, transmits it, and it is deflected in a pattern. The light is guided through an advanced polymer and extracted via hundreds of micron-sized parallel structures.

“Each of these [structures] has a unique curve so that there is this redundancy," says Sawyer. That way, if anything enters the stream of light--if it is blocked, there is still a strong pattern of light on the tissue. --Brian Buntz

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