Big Claims from Ethicon as it Launches its New Powered Vascular Stapler at STS

J&J’s Ethicon division elected to launch its new ECHELON FLEX™ Powered Vascular Stapler at this year’s Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) 51st Annual Meeting, being held in San Diego. The company says its new device is designed to provide greater precision and stability than currently available staplers for critical vessel transections.


The Echelon Flex stapler lays claim to the narrowest anvil of any stapler on the market, an articulating shaft and advanced placement tip that may allow for better visibility, navigation and precise placement during thoracic and other procedures, including VATS lobectomy (Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery) for lung cancer.


Given the head-to-head nature of Ethicon’s decades long rivalry with Covidien in the stapler market, it’s unsurprising to see it comparing its new offering with the Endo GIA™ Curved Tip Reload with Tri-Staple™ Technology. Ethicon says its curved, blunt anvil is 26 percent narrower, with a shaft that is also 26 percent thinner, offering the greatest angle of reach in the tight intercostal space (as assessed in a virtual CAD environment). Pointing to its competitor’s IFU, Ethicon says Echelon Flex also provides 11 percent greater manual articulation in each direction, allowing more flexibility during final placement than the competitor device.

And finally, in a surgical environment in which stability of the instrument is pretty important, Ethicon says its new device sees tip movement during firing reduced by 83 percent.

Physician comments

“Thoracic surgery is performed in restricted narrow spaces around delicate vascular anatomy … This new powered thin lower profile stapler is designed to improve access, visibility and stability and delivers a secure, hemostatic staple line. It is a significant advance that may help surgeons avoid potential complications and improve patient outcomes,” said Robert J. Cerfolio, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP Professor, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Section Chief of Thoracic Surgery at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Company comments 

“The ECHELON FLEX Powered Vascular Stapler is a linear stapler designed primarily for thoracic surgery with significant input from thoracic surgeons throughout the world,” said Michael del Prado, Ethicon Group Chairman. “We are deeply committed to thoracic surgery and helping our customers around the world advance treatment through evidence-based solutions. Our commitment is to be the best partner we can through developing comprehensive clinical evidence, education, and innovative product and procedural solutions.”

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