New medical devices that are capable of changing their shape will allow surgeons to operate faster and safer

Scientists from the National University of Science and Technology MISiS, under Professor Sergey Prokoshkin’s  direction and in conjunction with their  colleagues from Endogene-Globetek (Australia), have developed medical devices of a new generation. These devices are capable of “remembering” their shape and allow surgeons to carry out operations faster and safer.

The new technology is based on unusual properties of certain metals – the shape memory effect and superelasticity. The metal deforms and then returns to its original shape with a change in temperature or when any other deforming factors have been lifted. This technology was used by scientists to develop unique medical instruments –– the Superelastic Extractor “Trawl” and the “Smart clip” with its “clip holder” delivery system.

Trawl” is an instrument intended for capture and rapid extraction of alien objects from hollow organs and tubular structures of a human body. It can be used to extract alien objects from the trachea and stones from the gall bladder or the ureter, and to get rid of blood clots in vessels.

“Imagine the following situation: an ambulance brings a child to a hospital. He has choked on a pea and he is suffocating. The situation is very difficult. Everyone is nervous. The doctors’ hands are shaking. The child has turned blue and there is barely any time left to save his life. We place the extractor inside the child’s respiratory tracts and try to open the child’s trachea to catch this pea. Unfortunately, the pea is moving back and forth. The trachea starts to bleed and time is passing. If we use “Trawl” in this difficult situation, everything will end well. The doctor places “Trawl” into the trachea, opens it and pulls on it. The pea has nowhere to move and it gets inside the instrument. There is no chance for it to fall out of there”, said Dr. Mikhail Soutorine, a practicing surgeon, Executive Director, Director of Technology, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at the Australian Endogene-Globetek company.
According to Dr. Soutorine, the second instrument consists of two parts – a clip for clamping blood vessels and an instrument for managing the clip. The clip is made from a material with the shape memory effect. It has two positions – open and closed. A surgeon delivers the clip to the desired location and presses a button to heat the clip up. The clip takes the desired shape and closes, clamping the vessel. It holds this shape due to the human body temperature, so the surgeon has an unlimited period of time to perform other stages of the operation. When the clip needs to be opened and removed, the surgeon presses the button to cool it. 

Thus, the “Smart clip” with its “clip holder” delivery system works without a deforming mechanical impact. The surgeon can clamp long hollow organs and perform an operation without injuring vessels or tissues. The instrument can be used in cardiovascular and minimally invasive surgeries. 

In contrast to their foreign analogues, these devices significantly reduce the risks during surgical procedures. When surgeons use “Trawl”, they do not need to make a huge amount of strenuous efforts. The time that is necessary to complete the surgery is reduced and the precision of medical manipulations is increased. All these factors make the operation safer.  

As for the advantages of the “Smart clip” with its “clip holder” delivery system, the device eliminates the danger of injuring a vessel while removing the clip. It also reduces the risks of self-induced or accidental slipping of the clip off the organ. All these features allow surgeons to reduce injury risks during operations. This new device will also solve the problems of emergency bleeding control during surgery and temporary organ shutdown (e.g. of kidneys) during abdominal and laparoscopic surgeries.

Both instruments got first place at the 67th iENA-2015 International Trade Fair “Ideas-Inventions-New Products”. The fair was held from October 29 to November 1 in Nuremberg, Germany. These innovative devices turned out to be the best among more than 700 inventions from 36 countries. The iENA trade fair is one of the largest and most important exhibitions of inventions and innovations in Europe, and includes the latest achievements in various fields of science and technology.

The Superelastic Extractor “Trawl” and the “Smart clip” with its “clip holder” delivery system have successfully undergone clinical trials. Now they are at the stage of commercialization. The cost of the instruments is low – “Trawl” and the “Smart clip” with its delivery system are 10-15 dollars and 1.5-2 dollars per unit, respectively. 

About MISiS

The National University of Science and Technology MISiS has a proud and distinguished history, having celebrated its 80th anniversary in June 2010. It originated as the Department of Metallurgy in the Moscow Academy of Mines, which the Soviet government established in 1918, and in the following decades it went through several transformations before achieving its current designation.

In the 20th century, the Moscow Academy of Mines and then the Moscow Steel Institute (founded in 1930) each played a prominent role in the industrialization of Soviet Russia. Today, the National University of Science and Technology MISiS is at the forefront in the development of Russia’s innovative, knowledge-based economy, supporting the nation’s ability to successfully compete with other advanced economies as well as to fully integrate into the international community. Following Russian federal policy in engineering and innovations, the university is working to develop research and development projects in prioritized areas of the economy, as identified by the presidential administration. MISiS’s goal is to create energy-effective technologies and environmentally-friendly methods of industrial production, and to produce new materials for use in energy-effective technologies.

MISiS supports a multi- and cross-disciplinary approach to education. Our mission emphasizes providing fundamental instruction at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels as well as creating an organic bond between education and science.

MISiS is working to develop new mutually-beneficial relations with international industrial and educational partners, while continuing to nurture those already existing. Our institutional vision recognizes the seeming paradox that in the world of competition it is international cooperation that has the potential of creating an environment uniquely conducive to the attainment of the university’s goals and continued evolution.

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