It’s amazing what happens when experts cross inter disciplinary boundaries and apply the knowledge gained from one discipline, to the challenges faced in another. One case in point is R&D-based Medical Device Company Tissuemed Ltd. (Leeds, UK). Six years ago Tissuemed embarked on a mission to apply its polymer science expertise to the development of self-adhesive sealant films for surgical applications.
Surgeons often need to seal surfaces against leakage of air (during lung surgery), blood and other fluids, such as Cerebrospinal Fluid following brain and spinal surgery, and sometimes this can be very difficult, time consuming and problematic.
Now, six years on the hard work has borne fruit and the company is turning into a real success story; The TissuePatch range has gained CE mark approval for a wide range of surgical applications and surgeons are regularly providing extremely positive feedback.
“I used a 50×100 on a particularly difficult case last week (a re-do thoracotomy in a group particularly likely to have air leaks, which the patient did) and the patch worked superbly with the patient going home at 4 days, so a remarkable result on a severe air leak.” Mr W Parry, Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, UK
“It’s the best acute performance I’ve seen from a sealant” Dr Udo Anegg, Graz, Austria
So what’s special about TissuePatch? R&D Manager Dr Ian Thompson, a man who has been instrumental in driving the development, describes the technology; “TissuePatch is an incredibly thin, impermeable film only 40 microns in thickness. Compared with the surgical glues that are available this represents thirty times less material for the area covered. Surgeons like to minimise the amount of foreign material they introduce into patients, so this is clearly an advantage.”
“Secondly, the film is what we call a “fused multilaminate” comprising multiple layers, of which the lower layer is the “sticky” polymer that actually bonds the patch to the tissue surface, providing an air, blood or fluid-tight seal. The adhesion is significantly higher than any other internal surgical sealant we have tested. Much as it’s jokingly referred to as “Clingfilm”, it’s actually spectacularly more sophisticated than that!”
“Reassuringly the product originates from chemistry already in surgical use, but with our know-how applied to achieve bonding to the internal tissues. This means it only contains proven chemicals and is fully synthetic, so carries no risk of disease transmission, unlike some competitive products that are derived from human or animal materials. On top of all that, the product is 100% absorbable, so disappears after it has done its job.”
Tissuemed can justifiably claim to have provided surgeons with a new concept that had the potential to improve the way operations are performed in terms of time taken, acute performance and overall outcomes.