Boston Scientific launches disposable digital urinary tract endoscope

LithoVue system--Courtesy of Boston Scientific

Contaminated endoscopes are a persistent problem for the medical device industry and its regulators. Not only is it difficult for hospitals to reprocess or sterilize all sorts of endoscopes effectively, it's also costly.

Inexpensive, disposable endoscopes remove those issues--and now Boston Scientific ($BSX) is rolling out a disposable digital ureteroscope called LithoVue, which is an endoscope specifically designed for minimally invasive means to examine the kidney, ureter and bladder. The device is designed to offer high-quality digital visualization and navigation, but it's for a single use only.

"Flexible ureteroscopy is considered the gold standard for treating many stones in the ureter and kidney, and the LithoVue System provides high-quality visualization that is comparable to or better than the leading digital reusable ureteroscopes," said Dr. Glenn Preminger, a professor of urologic surgery and director of the Duke University Comprehensive Kidney Stone Center, in a statement.

He continued, "We believe that the LithoVue System offers a safe, effective and affordable solution that helps to avoid many of the hassles and unpredictable challenges of reusable ureteroscopes, without compromising visualization or maneuverability."

Typical reusable digital, flexible ureteroscopes require repair after fewer than 12 uses, with each repair costing an average of more than $6,000, Boston Scientific said. It also noted that endoscopic procedures are often delayed because of reprocessing and repairs, with each postponement coming at an average cost of $830.

The company also markets another single-use endoscopy tool, the SpyGlass DS Direct Visualization System that is used for cholangioscopy and pancreatoscopy procedures.

The LithoVue System includes a workstation monitor on a rolling mobile cart for use in a ureteroscopic procedure or to be integrated with other systems in the operating room. It's now marketed in the U.S., Europe and New Zealand. Boston Scientific declined to disclose the LithoVue price, saying it's "competitive."

"At Boston Scientific, we are committed to providing innovative solutions to the healthcare challenges that our customers face every day," said SVP of Urology and Pelvic Health at Boston Scientific Karen Prange. "The LithoVue System is an example of how we are focused on addressing unmet needs by providing urologists and hospitals a predictable, cost-effective, minimally invasive endoscope for the management of kidney stones."

- here is the announcement