From aircraft landing gear to advanced cancer surgery
Can the development and enhancement of surgical procedures have something in common with aerospace technology? It is possible – at least in the terms of providing a general understanding of how advanced technical matters tick. In some cases, understanding how our bodies work and respond to treatments is very much like rocket science.
Dr. Anders Grönberg, formerly a technician and later on founder of the Swedish surgical device company CarpoNovum, has made a remarkable journey starting in automotive. Moving on through aerospace, Dr. Grönberg finally landed in the midst of developing new technology to improve surgical procedures.
“The first time I witnessed a rectal resection procedure, I thought that there must be a much better way to perform that kind of surgery. A way that meant fewer complications, and thus a better quality of life for the patient. And I was right”, says Dr. Grönberg, as he points out the advantages of the CARP devices developed over the past decade by CarpoNovum.
Reducing – even eliminating complications
In colorectal cancer surgery, many surgeons still use a device originally developed by Russian doctors at some point between the first and second world wars. Although it was later on refined by the Americans, surgeons all over the world are still relying on a technology that has not been refined since the 1970ies.
“The main problem in using the old device, a problem which from the start has been of main priority for us to solve, is that it frequently causes complications such as leakage. This is usually rectified using a colostomy bag. Our goal in developing CARP devices has been to dramatically reduce the possibility of leakage and thus eliminating the need for a colostomy bag altogether”, says Anders Grönberg.
The advantages for the patient can hardly be described in words. Above all, using CARP devices grants the freedom to resume life to its full potential shortly after the surgical procedure, something that generally is not possible using the old technology.
New solutions to old problems
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, alongside breast cancer and prostate cancer. Colorectal cancer affects both men and women, with approximately 5000 new cases in Sweden every year (5000 new cases per 10 million residents per year, never ending story, all over the world). CARP devices are already widely accepted and used in open surgery, but there is still a need for new solutions applied to other types of surgery.
“The next step for Carponovum is to develop and introduce new technology to be applied in keyhole surgery and rectal cancer surgery, and here we already have two candidates under clinical trials”, Anders Grönberg confirms.
Although the CarpoNovum technologies LapAid and RectoAid still only qualify for clinical studies, Dr. Grönberg is convinced of their future success in advanced keyhole and robotic surgery. Moreover, the instruments for open surgery fits LapAid and RectoAid and vice versa which gives the surgeon total freedom to select any instrument suitable for a certain upcoming situation. We call it the duality of C-REX. He estimates the remaining time to market to about a year from now, and concludes:
“As soon as we have received the CE-certification on the new products, we will commence large scale marketing activities. The big players are looking for new solutions to old problems, and that is precisely what we deliver”.