Medical, Surgical Sealants — Fibrin and Others

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-2-23-29-pmFibrin is the result of the combination of solutions of thrombin and fibrinogen. This forms a clot just as in the body during the coagulation cascade. The thrombin then breaks the fibrinogen molecules into smaller bits of another blood protein, called fibrin. Fibrin molecules arrange themselves into a lattice with strands cross-linked by the blood component, Factor XIII. This resulting cross-linked net helps to stabilize the clot.

Numerous variants of fibrin sealant exist, including autologous products. Other, non-fibrin sealant types are thrombin, collagen & gelatin-based sealants.

Fibrin sealants are used in the US in a wide array of applications; they are used the most in orthopedic surgeries, where the penetration rate is thought to be 25-30%. Fibrin sealants can, however, be ineffective under wet surgical conditions. The penetration rate in other surgeries is estimated to be about 10-15%.

Fibrin-based sealants were originally made with bovine components. These components were judged to increase the risk of developing bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), so second-generation commercial fibrin sealants (CSF) avoided bovine-derived materials. The antifibrinolytic tranexamic acid (TXA) was used instead of bovine aprotinin. Later, the TXA was removed, again due to safety issues. Today, Ethicon’s (JNJ) Evicel is an example of this product, which Ethicon says is the only all human, aprotinin free, fibrin sealant indicated for general hemostasis. Market growth in the sealants sector is driven by the need for improved biocompatibility and stronger sealing ability—in other words, meeting the still-unsatisfied needs of physician end-users.

The current market penetration of sealant products in the US stands at about 25% of eligible surgeries, with their largest volume of use in orthopedics.

Selected Fibrin and Other Sealant Types*


*Market status on each detailed in report S290.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Sealants, Glues, Hemostats to 2022.