There have been significant advancements in orthopedic surgery over the last few decades. With more than 6.5 million people expected to undergo orthopedic procedures each year by 2020 and over 25,500 practicing surgeons in the United States specializing in it, groundbreaking innovation will likely continue well into the future.
While surgical procedures have undergone many changes, this revolutionary spirit has yet to revolutionize surgical wound closure. As the number of procedures performed each year continues to increase, there is a tremendous opportunity for rethinking how alternative wound closure modalities could lead to better surgical outcomes and patient satisfaction.
Wound Closure and Orthopedic Surgery
Orthopedic surgeons 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 severe 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. Needlestick 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 the 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 may soon change 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%.
It all starts with the non-invasive micro-anchors that grip the skin gently and securely to pull wound edges together. 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. This makes them completely pain free, which can significantly improve ambulation post-procedure. When it comes time to remove the bandage, the micro-anchors pull free quite easily, especially compared to other alternative wound closure modalities. And unlike sutures or staples, it doesn’t require a return appointment for removal.
With no needles or staples necessary, BandGrip eliminates the risk of needlesticks 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.
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 sample.