Teleflex Bets Percutaneous Laparoscopy Will Be MIS Game Changer
Story and Podcast: Teleflex Medical launched in March a novel portfolio of miniaturized percutaneous surgical instruments that have the same functionality as full-sized laparoscopic instruments, but allow surgeons to access the abdominal cavity using trocar-less entry and much smaller incisions than those required in traditional laparoscopy. Teleflex execs say the technology is a game changer, and the company hopes percutaneous laparoscopy will become the standard of care for the 4 million laparoscopic procedures performed annually in the US.
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Technology and techniques for minimally invasive surgery continue to evolve as medical device manufacturers and clinicians alike look for ways to further minimize the invasiveness, pain, and scarring associated with surgery. At the same time, the economy and health care reform have created challenges for medical device manufacturers. In response to these challenges, mannufacturers competing in the MIS market are developing new products and marketing strategies designed to ease both the economic and environmental impact for providers.
One of the most recent trends in laparoscopic surgery is to access the peritoneal cavity via the umbilicus using a single skin incision. Single-incision laparoscopy introduces additional constraints to the conventional laparoscopic environment and requires surgeons to use new flexible and articulating instruments and novel access platforms. Over the past two years, medical device companies have been racing to develop enabling technologies for single-incision laparoscopy, but the approach is controversial and its future appears uncertain as surgeons debate the cost/benefits of the single-incision laparoscopic approach.
NOTES is an experimental alternative to conventional surgery that uses a combination of endoscopic and laparoscopic techniques to access the peritoneal cavity through the wall of the alimentary canal or other natural orifices, allowing surgeons and gastroenterologists to perform complex surgery without leaving any visible scars. In the last few years, NOTES research, procedures, patents, and venture capital investment have increased exponentially. And although the field is still unproven, the rush to NOTES is being fueled by several important motivators, including the perceived advantages over conventional surgery, patient demand, and a worldwide market potential believed to range between $2 and $4 billion per year.