Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oy vey! Laser suturing techniques from Israel

An Isralei group is working on a novel technique for laser welding skin incisions. Dr. Abraham Katzir from Tel Aviv is promoting his prototype which advertises itself as the first tissue friendly device for such anapplication. From the description of the technology it sounds like they use some protein-like gel in the wound as "cement" and then use the laser to heat it, essentially spot welding the area. From Technology Review magazine:

Katzir and his colleagues developed a laser-based system with a feedback loop that prevents overheating. First, they had to determine the optimal temperature at which flesh melts but can still heal (about 65 degrees Celsius). Then the group created a pen-sized tool that incorporates optic fibers: one that channels a carbon dioxide-powered infrared laser to the wound with pinpoint precision, and another that leads from the pen to an infrared sensor, which measures the temperature and ensures that the heat remains within the ideal range, between 60 and 70 degrees. All a surgeon has to do is move the pen's tip along the cut, strengthening and sealing the weld with a solder of water-soluble protein.

Below is a picture of two laparoscopic surgery access sites with the top closed with sutures and the lower picture using the laser technique.

Give me a break!
This is a technology that seems a little dodgy on exactly what advantage it offers, which is the lens thru which all medical devices must be examined going forward. In an era where healthcare dollars are rationed, you better show more then bells and whistles. This way of closing a wound is many, many more times expensive then sutures, glue, or staples and will require high maintainence durable medical goods (the laser). I'm not exactly sure what their market is going to be


Antonio Testa said...

Totally agree with you Doc. If the resoults will be exactly the same from my poit of view also is totally useless this device.

Gastric Loan said...

Goodness. Does seem a bit pointless. You are correct Doc

Griffin said...

I'd also like to point out that there's no measure of exactly how large either of these incisions are. In fact, there's more detail in the sutured picture than the laser (suggesting that possibly the second one was larger).

paulene said...

Just by looking at the photo, I don't want to be sutured using the laser welding technique.