A device developed by undergraduate students at John Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland, US), is designed to reduce complications after chest and abdomen surgery, according to a university press release. The device, called FastStitch, prevents the accidental puncture of internal organs and features a visual guide helping surgeons to place stitches evenly.
Open abdominal surgery can result in complications such as herniation and evisceration if the incisions are not closed properly. When surgeons stitch together the fascia, they also risk puncturing organs below the fascia. The device developed by the students prevents this by keeping the needle housed within the jaws of the tool, which looks similar to a hole puncher. A surgeon places the fascial layer between the top and bottom arms of the device. The clamp pushes the needle through the fascial layer and then moves the needle from one arm of the tool to another. The YouTube video below demonstrates how the tool works.
The team that developed the device has raised over US$80,000 in grants and prize money from competitions such as the ASME International Innovation Showcase. They have also formed the company Archon Medical Technologies to conduct further research and development into FastStitch and obtained preliminary patent protection for the invention, together with Dr Hien Nguyen, an Assistant Professor of surgery in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who served as the team’s clinical adviser.Camilla Andersson