Medtronic launches bariatric surgery tool to enable more consistent procedures

GastriSail--Courtesy of Covidien

The most common weight-loss surgery is the sleeve gastrectomy, in which two-thirds of the stomach is removed to create a pouch that is roughly the size and shape of a banana without touching the intestines. Medtronic ($MDT) has come out with a surgical tool, the GastriSail gastric positioning system, that it says will enable surgeons to consistently size the pouch, as well as to decompress the pouch and test for leaks.

Previously, conducting these kinds of activities would have required surgeons to use three devices. The reduction of device insertions can limit the risks for irritations of and injuries to the esophagus during the procedure, according to a small cadaver study using the GastriSail system. FDA cleared the system in February.

"The GastriSail system is a first-of-its-kind in the bariatric industry, and demonstrates our continued commitment to fight obesity with specialized solutions that provide better patient outcomes and have the potential to increase adoption of this well-established procedure," said Chris Barry, SVP, president and president of the Surgical Innovations business that includes the Minimally Invasive Therapies Group at Medtronic, said in a statement.

Medtronic is launching GastriSail in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, with global availability anticipated by year end. The device can be used to apply suction, for pouch decompression and as a sizing guide during bariatric procedures including the sleeve gastrectomy. It also includes LED lights to see a clear line showing where the stomach should be dissected, stapled and divided. The company said the tool enables more consistent sleeve creation and a more efficient surgical procedure than standard surgical practice.

Sleeve gastrectomy accounted for 42% of the 179,000 bariatric surgeries in the U.S. in 2013, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Gastric bypass, in which a portion of the stomach and the large intestines are removed, accounted for only 34% of bariatric surgeries that year.

"The GastriSail system provides enhanced visualization and improved consistency allowing for streamlined, auto-placement in the stomach," said Dr. Amit Trivedi, a bariatric surgeon at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ, and co-developer of the system, in a statement. "Using the GastriSail system enables a more consistent procedure and greater efficiency, which can potentially change the patient experience."

- here is the release

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