Strong Economic Case for Zip Compared to Staples

A new study, primarily focusing on the economic impact of Zip Surgical Skin Closure, the system reduced post-discharge costs for total knee arthroplasty (TKA) when compared to staples.


ZipLine Medical says its Zip is a non-invasive and easy to use skin closure device that replaces sutures, staples, and glue for surgical incisions and lacerations. Unlike staples or sutures, there are no skin punctures with the Zip that can create pathways for bacteria. A frequent past visitor to our pages, the company claims its system has demonstrated significant time savings, fewer wound complications and the ability to reduce post discharge healthcare costs.

The new economic study of 130 consecutive TKA patients, with half of subjects closed with staples and half closed with Zip Surgical Skin Closure. All surgeries were performed at the Texas Center for Joint Replacement by the same surgeon using the same approach and implant, and were closed by the same surgical physician’s assistant. Patients were followed from surgery to first clinic post-operative visit (day 21-28) for assessment. Zip reduced all of the following measures when compared to staples, including 46 percent reduction in incision-related actual clinic costs, 60 percent reduction in incision-related phone calls, 60 percent reduction in incision-related clinic visits and 75 percent reduction in incision-related antibiotics prescribed. In addition, patients found the resulting scar from the Zip to be cosmetically more appealing, and the Zip device less painful to remove, than staples.

Results of this study were presented the Knee Society Members Meeting by Roger Emerson, MD, of the Texas Center for Joint Replacement, Plano, Texas.

Investigator comments

“In the study, we saw that staples and the Zip are both fast to apply in the operating room, but in the post-discharge environment, staple-related issues, such as patient phone calls, emergency department visits, infection concerns and removal create extra work and extra cost in the long run,” said Dr. Emerson. “In addition, patients were apprehensive about staple removal and concerned when they saw redness around their staples, which in some cases triggered antibiotic prescriptions to avoid possible infection.”

”In addition to actual emergency room, clinic and wound-related care costs, which can be considered ‘bundle-busters’ in a bundled care setting, there are opportunity costs to consider, where unreimbursed time responding to patient calls, concerns and staple removal results in less time spent on billable activities,” said Omar Alnachoukati, director of clinical research at the Texas Center for Joint Replacement. “In the study, we found a five times higher opportunity cost in the staple group.”

He continued, “Total joint arthroplasty is the largest expense for a single condition among Medicare beneficiaries, totaling $7 billion annually. With staples currently one of the primary methods currently used for TKA closure, this study suggests that replacing staples with the non-invasive Zip device has the potential to offer significant savings to the healthcare system.”

Source: ZipLine Medical, Inc.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *