A Medical Device Daily

In late 2008, Key Tech (Carrollton, Georgia) said it had formed a joint venture with Walter von Pechmann MD, a fellowship trained urogynecologist, and Samuel Yoon, MD, a board certified interventional cardiologist, to develop specialized instrumentation for improving laparoscopic procedures related to female pelvic floor reconstructive surgeries. They reported they were recently notified that they will receive a grant through the National Institute of Health (NIH) to further develop a minimally invasive approach to treat a disorder known as "vaginal vault prolapse" that affects 1 in 10 women following a hysterectomy. The $170,000 Phase 1 grant will start later this summer and will run into 2010.

The gold standard for correcting vaginal vault prolapse is a procedure called "sacral colpopexy" which is typically performed via a large incision in the abdomen. Laparoscopic surgery (working through one or more small incisions in the abdomen) has been shown to shorten hospital stays, reduce patient pain and scarring, and accelerate post-operative recuperation. Unfortunately, wide-scale adoption of a minimally-invasive approach to sacral colpopexy has been impeded by a lack of optimal instruments and the high level of skill needed to complete the procedure.

Key Tech and Drs. von Pechmann and Yoon have created early concepts of a novel approach to make laparoscopic sacral colpopexy significantly easier to perform, in a time efficient manner. They hope the innovation will facilitate the broad adoption of a laparoscopic alternative, reducing costs for the hospital while improving the outcome for patients. Early concepts and prototypes have been created and tested in pre-clinical trials, as well as several mock procedures, with promising results.