Open Minds 2013 Team: FastStitch

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Approximately 9-19% of 4-5 million open abdominal surgeries each year result in postoperative complications,  costing the health care system $2.5 billion per year. The main cause of these complications is improper closure of the fascia, a layer of muscle underneath the skin that protects the internal organs. Currently, fascia closure is performed with the traditional combination of suture and needle. This method requires surgeons to roughly estimate suture placement across the incision, leading to uneven placement, compromised closure integrity, and exposure of the internal organs to a sharp needle.
 
To address these issues, Team Archon Medical designed the FastStitch, a mechanical suturing device that will better uphold the integrity of the fascia layer. FastStitch is a plier-like device that can drive and transfer a needle across its jaw. To use the device, the surgeon places the fascia between its jaws, squeezes the handle, and toggles a switch to transfer the needle across the layer. The needle is protected in the process, eliminating exposure to the intestines. This allows surgeons can close fascia more safely, easily, and consistently.

Archon Medical's FastStitch also took Second Prize in the 2012 BMEStart competition.

View their video: