There have been significant advancements in orthopedic surgery over the last few decades—and with more than 6.5 million people expected to undergo orthopedic procedures each year by 2020, groundbreaking innovation will likely continue well into the future. Unfortunately, this revolutionary spirit didn’t have much impact on orthopedic surgical wound closure, forcing most surgeons to continue to use sutures, a method that dates back as far as 3000 BCE. Until now.
WOUND CLOSURE AND ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY
Although there are more than 25,500 practicing surgeons in the United States specializing in orthopedic surgery, they still face a lot of demands for their time. Typically working longer and often less regular hours than other doctors, orthopedic surgeons split much of their time between consulting and performing surgery. They are often needed immediately after injuries occur, especially in cases involving severely broken bones or serious muscle or joint injuries. With surgery times that can range anywhere from thirty minutes to several hours (depending upon the procedure), every spare moment they can fit into their schedule is valuable.
Closing surgical wounds in the aftermath of an operation is frequently cited as a time-consuming task that surgeons would prefer not to spend much time completing. Although suture materials have seen a great deal of innovation over the last few decades with the advent of synthetic fibers, the actual techniques used for wound closure have changed very little. In addition to the time needed for the actual closure, the materials need to be gathered and prepared.
While sutures are effective, they aren’t without risks. Needle stick injuries affect approximately 1,000 people every day in US hospitals and account for up to 80% of accidental exposures to blood. Of these injuries, about one quarter of them are caused by suture needles. The Center for Disease Control has estimated that each needlestick injury costs just over $3,000 per victim, with most of the cost going toward laboratory fees and post-exposure follow-ups.
Scarring is another concern in the aftermath of any surgical wound closure. Sutures are effective at holding wound edges together, but can often result in unsightly scars. For orthopedic surgeons, limiting scars is often considered a testament to the quality of their work. Patients are more likely to be satisfied with their procedure if it results in minimal scarring, whereas excessive scarring tends to give them a poor opinion of the surgeon. When it comes time for referrals, surgeons would rather patients remember the quality of the actual surgery rather than the appearance of the closure scar.
A BETTER APPROACH TO WOUND CLOSURE
Medical device manufacturers have been experimenting with alternative approaches to wound closure for some time now. From various types of adhesives to combinations of strips and tape, nothing has quite managed to supplant sutures as the primary method trusted by the country’s leading orthopedic surgeons.
BandGrip Micro-Anchor Skin Closures is changing all that.
Designed for speed and ease of use, BandGrip is a 3.5”x1.5” bandage that offers a non-invasive method of wound closure without the use of needles or staples. Simple and intuitive, the bandage can be applied by a wide range of healthcare professionals and reduce wound closure time by more than 30%.
When BandGrip is applied, small micro-anchors grip the skin gently and securely to pull wound edges together. You can see exactly how it works in this quick video:
Although strong enough to hold a wound closed during its most critical healing period without the use of adhesives, the micro-anchors do not penetrate the skin deeply enough to reach the nerve endings, making them pain-free and improving ambulation post-procedure. When it comes time to remove the bandage, the micro-anchors pull free quite easily and don’t require a return appointment for removal.
With no needles or staples necessary, BandGrip eliminates the risk of needle sticks and reduces the amount of materials and preparation needed to close. Since the bandage holds the wound edges tightly without the strain associated with sutures, scarring is less pronounced, leaving patients more satisfied with the results of their procedure. Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words, so check out the results below of orthopedic surgery using staples versus BandGrip.
Surgical staples do not allow for precise wound alignment, leading to the arched stapling positioning shown in this photo. In most patients, stapling also makes their scar more pronounced and darker in color, especially if the staples are left in for any length of time. With BandGrip, wound closure is better aligned leading to a more seamless appearance, and scarring is much less pronounced.
BANDGRIP IS MAKING WAVES—AND HEADLINES
Not only did Ortho Spine News highlight BandGrip wound closure applications earlier this year, the product was named one of the Top 10 Orthopedic Solution Providers of 2019. MedTech Outlook’s distinguished selection panel, comprised of CEOs, CIOs, VCs, industry analysts, and MedTech Outlook’s editorial board, curate a list of best-in-class orthopedic solutions providers each year that exhibit innovative technologies and strategies. This year, along with nine other industry innovators, MedTech chose BandGrip for providing orthopedic surgeons with an alternative to sutures, staples, glues, and adhesives. You can read more here.
Advances in orthopedic surgery deserve equally innovative wound closure methods. With BandGrip Micro-Anchor Wound Closures, orthopedic surgeons have an exciting new alternative to conventional closure techniques. For more information about how BandGrip can revolutionize the way medical professionals address wound closure, contact us today or request a free sample.