Not long ago, if a patient injured his or her shoulder, open surgery was the only option. A surgeon would make a long incision along the shoulder blade or inside the armpit, cut the deltoid muscle down from its origin, fix the broken, stretched, frayed or torn parts inside, reattach the deltoid, and stitch the incision together. Recovery was a long, painful process, and the patient had to remain in a sling while his or her shoulder muscle healed.
More recently, however, arthroscopic surgery became the accepted way to fix many shoulder ailments, including the most common: rotator cuff tears, Bankart lesions (tears of the gasket-like labrum that helps to keep the arm in the shoulder socket), and SLAP lesions (tears at the junction of the labrum and the biceps tendon). By making a smaller incision and using visualization equipment, doctors were better able to see inside the joint without cutting it open. On average, patients who undergo arthroscopic surgery today experience a quicker recovery and less pain.
The key to making arthroscopic surgery widely accepted is to make it easy for the surgeon—and a Scottsdale, Arizona-based company says it has the key. By making instruments that sit closer to the incision, help the surgeon complete the procedure easily, and customize to the surgeon and patient's needs, Orthopaedic Biosystems may revolutionize the already-revolutionary practice of arthroscopic surgery. The company's Arthro-Pierce tool, for example, allows a surgeon to pass into the shoulder joint with minimal trauma using the tool's sharp end. Once inside the joint, the tool also has many benefits, as well.
While watching a monitor connected to a scope inside the joint, the surgeon can use the Arthro-Pierce to suture together any torn tissue inside the joint. For example, a patient may tear their rotator cuff by falling on an outstretched arm or by catching something heavier than they can handle. After examining the extent of the damage using the scope, the surgeon drills a plastic or metal anchor into the upper arm bone that will hold a number of sutures tightly to it. The surgeon will then slide the Arthro-Pierce into the joint, which helps the surgeon pass the sutures through one side of the tear in the tissue and catch them on the other. The same process may be done for SLAP and Bankart lesions, which often accompany rotator cuff tears.
The tool comes equipped with a number of different tips, including straight, right 45 degrees and left 45 degrees. The shafts allow the tool to be custom-fit to the surgeon's preferences and the type of tear being sutured. By making the tool easier for the surgeon to use, the company has made arthroscopic surgery an easier pill for the orthopedist to swallow.
Orthopaedic Biosystems has entered finalization talks for a buyout by arthroscopy giant Smith+Nephew Endoscopy . The deal, estimated at just less than $26 million, will allow OBL to benefit from S+N's established sales in more than 90 countries. "I believe that [Smith+Nephew's] business approach, and the synergy between our product lines, will serve our customers well into the future," OBL Chairman and CEO D. Ronald Yagoda said in a statement. Smith+Nephew , the lead sponsor for Shoulder1, also welcomed the merger, and President Ron Sparks said it will allow surgeons and patients around the world to enjoy a larger selection of products for arthroscopic surgery. A larger line of products will help surgeons better customize their procedures to the needs of each patient's shoulder woes.