About eight years ago I had major colorectal surgery following a pretty wicked battle with ulcerative colitis. Basically the surgeon had to take out my entire colon, creating a stoma (artificial opening in the abdomen wall through which the end of the intestine is brought). I wore an ileostomy bag for 15 months before having a “take down” surgery so that I no longer needed the bag – in other words, they rerouted me. Don’t you just have all sorts of lovely images in your head right now?
Anyway, as a med-tech reporter, I occasionally come across a story about a new technology in the GI space designed to improve colorectal surgery or to make life a little easier for ostomy patients. Take the AOS-C1000 colostomy management system in development by Stimatix GI (Misgav, Israel) for instance. The AOS-C1000 is an artificial sphincter designed to allow individuals to discreetly manage their colostomy without the need to wear a traditional ostomy pouch. The company also plans to make a similar device for ileostomates (like I used to be) and urostomates. This could be the first major breakthrough in ostomy care in more than 50 years.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to see these advancements being made and I’m happy for the patients whose quality of life will be greatly improved by it. But I can’t help but wish this technology had been available eight years ago. So yeah, sometimes I get a little green-eyed with med-tech envy.
I’m already bracing for Digestive Disease Week (May 7 – 10) when the latest R&D efforts on the GI horizon will be unveiled in Chicago. But all kidding aside, it really is exciting to see medical innovation taking place in any sector, but particularly the GI space because it hits so close to home.