The future of automated stitches

The future of automated stitches

REVIEW

Sutrue showcase two new devices set to transform the suturing process

The technique for producing medical stitches hasn’t changed since the times of Ancient Egypt – until now. Medical stitching by hand can be problematic as it relies on the ability, dexterity, training and alertness of the practitioner. Sutrue Ltd has solved this historic problem through the creation of two automated stitching devices. They transform the manual process of stitching into a far simpler, quicker and more accurate automated process, thus reducing the margin for human error. There have been more than 10,000 patent attempts to produce a device that sutures wounds and Sutrue is the first to successfully achieve it.

As the handheld device is currently exhibited in The Design Museum, Kensington, a special press event was held there in May, to give attendees the opportunity to try out the creation of automated stitches.

The sessions included panel discussions and Q&A sessions with leaders involved in the designing, engineering, 3D printing, testing and patenting of the devices. Thought leaders in attendance included Richard Trimlett, cardiothoracic surgeon and head of mechanical support at the Royal Brompton and Harefield Trust; Stephan Zeidler, business development manager medical from GE Additive; Alex Berry, managing director of Sutrue, engineer/inventor of the devices; Stephen Squire, consulting engineer in medical technology and former clinical engineering services manager at the Royal Brompton and Harefield Trust; and Edward Nation, patent attorney at Abel & Imray.

 

Benefits of the Handheld Suturing Device over traditional suturing include:

  • The potential to save the NHS £10.7 million a year (based on data from ‘Health Economics Assessment of an Automated Suturing Device within the NHS’ by York Health Economics Consortium).
  • Safer, quicker and more accurate than suturing by hand.
  • Increased needle force and the option to reduce needle size to subsequently reduce tissue trauma/scarring.
  • Ability to use standard suturing needles from different suppliers.
  • Reduction of needle stick injuries among healthcare practitioners and therefore fewer cases of high risk infection such as HIV and Hepatitis B.
  • Procedures can be performed in the field by less skilled users resulting in injuries being treated more quickly.

 

Benefits of using the Sutrue Robotic/Endoscopic Suturing device in robotic surgery instead of using forceps include:

  • Reduction in number of open operations and increase in keyhole surgery.
  • Increased speed of suturing. In endoscopic surgery an experienced surgeon can take up to 25 seconds per stitch, whereas our device can produce a stitch in 1/3 of a second.
  • Increased access to hard-to-reach places using the articulation of the device.
  • Increased accuracy of suturing due to reduction of human error. This is particularly relevant in relation to cosmetic surgery and internal surgery where movement is limited.

 

To create their unique suturing mechanism, Sutrue produced 38 different prototypes and designed and tested more than 1,500 parts, which involved 15,000 hours of design work. This resulted in the creation of a patented automated suturing mechanism that now consistently works across both types of devices – the Handheld and the Endoscopic/Robotic.

Both types of devices can produce a row of sutures, tie a knot and sew around a corner. Their ability to do this means that they have numerous significant benefits within medicine, in addition to the handheld device having a wide range of industrial applications. The creation of these devices has been a feat of engineering that has used modern 3D printing capabilities to impact the future of medical research and development.

 

For more details, visit www.sutrue.com

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