We asked Cipher Surgical’s CEO and Founder Andrew Newell to explain in his own words how Cipher Surgical’s product the OpClear is revolutionising the world of keyhole surgery. Here’s what Andrew had to say about the innovative new device:
A key problem in keyhole surgery using a laparoscope – a small camera inserted during the operation - is how to keep the lens of the scope free of contamination (blood, fluids, tissue, fogging and so on) during an operation. The laparoscope is critical for beaming an image of the internal operation onto an external screen.
Laparoscopy is widely used in general surgery, which includes abdominal surgery (such as hernia repair or obesity surgery), gynaecology, colorectal surgery, and urology. Currently, if contamination occurs during one of these operations the scope is removed from the patient for cleaning, which can occur frequently and is disruptive for the surgeon and patient alike. And this can occur at the time of highest risk, for example when there is internal bleeding.
Our target market position for the OpClear will be as the only device designed to remove all contaminants from the laparoscope lens without removing the scope from the patient during an operation. The core innovation is to deliver a small and measured jet of medical grade CO2 over the end of a lens to clear contaminants. (CO2 is used in all laparoscopic operations to insufflate the abdomen and is very safe.) The picture below shows an OpClear fitted to a scope.
This is what one eminent surgeon says about OpClear:
‘On top of the comfort and time saving that the product brings, I would like to add that for long and stressful procedures involving a risk of lens contamination from sudden bleeding, knowing that OpClear is ready to react effectively creates a safer environment for the patient: this qualitative aspect is of course difficult to quantify, however, it remains crucial to me.’
The images below illustrate how the OpClear clears blood in a pre-clinical product test – the first picture showing the view before the blood has been cleared, the second after.
So to summarise, the OpClear is:
- Patented globally
- Launching in the UK in 2014
- Initial sales to high-need segments – gynaecology and colorectal surgery (30% of the market)
- Extending into a global market in 2015/16, estimated at 11 million total laparoscopic procedures
- Single use and disposable (one per operation)
- Raising money to support its UK launch and develop its product
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