Wound closure and healing via sealants, glues, hemostats in development

Natural tissue healing is a highly complex dance of processes that need to be working properly in order for the body to heal. Mammals have developed the ability to heal wounds rapidly through a cascade of processes that starts with hemostasis (blood clotting) to slow or stop the loss of blood. From the moment of injury, platelets start to aggregate, as well as starting to release cytokines, chemokines and hormones. Vasoconstriction takes place as the body tries to limit the loss of blood, and several vasoactive mediators come into play, including, norepinephrine, epinephrine, prostaglandins, serotonin, and thromboxane. Activated platelets lead to formation of a clot. Next, the inflammatory steps kick in, targeting and killing microbes and launching a natural internal debridement process, which serves to clean up any damaged tissue so that reconstruction may occur. Last in the cascade are the proliferative and maturation phases. These involve the deposition of new tissue matrix materials, and are intended to lead to reconstruction of tissue organelles and cellular structure. These healing steps actually overlap one another, and do not have strict times when each process begins or ends.

A delicate physiological balance must be maintained during the healing process to ensure timely repair or regeneration of damaged tissue. Wounds may fail to heal or have a greatly increased healing time when unfavorable conditions are allowed to persist. An optimal environment must be provided to support the essential biochemical and cellular activities required for efficient wound healing and to remove or protect the wound from factors that impede the healing process.

Factors affecting wound healing may be considered in one of two categories depending on their source. Extrinsic factors impinge on the patient from the external environment, whereas intrinsic factors directly affect the performance of bodily functions through the patient’s own physiology or condition. Factors which strongly affect wound healing include smoking, diabetes, age, oxygenation, stress, obesity, certain medications, alcoholism and nutrition.

Timescales for Development of
Sealants, Glues and Hemostat Products

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Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S290.

While product development continues apace, and companies are launching their products in new countries, launches of actual new products has been relatively slow. This is due most likely to the highly technical (read: expensive) nature of the product development, as well as the cost and time involved in running clinical trials, and the strong patent protection which has been erected, especially by the leading companies. The need for the products is there, but the required clinical testing is putting a brake on the markets.

In July 2015, HyperBranch announced the product launch of Adherus® AutoSpray Dural Sealant in the US. FDA clearance to market the product was obtained in March 2015. The absorbable sealant is intended for use in brain surgery and is applied over the sutures for dura repair to prevent cerebrospinal fluid from leaking out of the incision site. The Adherus® AutoSpray Dural Sealant is made of two solutions: a PEG ester solution and a polyethylenimine (PEI) solution. When mixed together, the solutions combine to form a sealant gel that is applied to the incision site. According to the company, the sealant is fully absorbed in about 90 days.

Cohera Medical launched its TissuGlu® in select US cities in November 2015. At this point, TissuGlu® is available in ten cities in the USA, while B. Braun is the distributor for the product in Germany, Spain and Portugal.

Sanyo Chemical launched its first medical device, Hydrofit, in February 2014. The company obtained the approval of the medical device under the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law in December 2011, filing it as a novel surgical hemostatic agent intended for anastomosing the arterial blood and artificial blood vessel in surgical procedures. According to the company, the product will be produced by Sanyo and marketed by Terumo.

In 2014, Cohera Medical, Inc. launched Sylys Surgical Sealant, which can be used in gastrointestinal surgery to decrease anastomotic leak. In the same year, Baxter also gained the FDA permission for Tisseel® fibrin sealant, which, according to the company, is used in almost all types of surgical procedures.

Mallinckrodt will invest in the commercial launch and ongoing market development of both PreveLeak and Raplixa in FY 2016. According to the company, both products are faster to prepare and easier to use and store than competing products. PreveLeak, a surgical sealant, is allegedly more flexible than hemostasis glue products. It is indicated for use in vascular reconstructions to achieve adjunctive hemostasis by sealing areas of leakage. PreveLeak is currently marketed in Europe through distributors.

In an example of a delayed launch, CryoLife has been working towards launch of PerClot in the US, but ran into litigation trouble with Medafor, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CR Bard. In November 2015, CryoLife announced that it had entered into a resolution with Medafor to end the patent dispute in the US District Court for the District of Delaware between the companies regarding PerClot. Under terms of the resolution, all parties agreed to end the litigation, jointly dismissing all claims and counterclaims with prejudice and waiving all appeal rights in this case.  Each party is to pay its own attorneys’ fees and costs associated with the litigation.  However, the court’s preliminary injunction entered March 31, 2015 with respect to CryoLife’s marketing and sale of PerClot in the US will remain in effect until the expiration of Medafor’s US Patent No. 6,060,461 (the “‘461 Patent”) on February 8, 2019. CryoLife management says that this will not upset their plans, as CryoLife does not expect to receive FDA market approval for PerClot before 2018, if then.


From “Sealants, Glues, Hemostats to 2022” (#S290).

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*

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*Market status on each detailed in report S290.

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

 

Where will medicine be in 2035?

An important determinant of “where medicine will be” in 2035 is the set of dynamics and forces behind healthcare delivery systems, including primarily the payment method, especially regarding reimbursement. It is clear that some form of reform in healthcare will result in a consolidation of the infrastructure paying for and managing patient populations. The infrastructure is bloated and expensive, unnecessarily adding to costs that neither the federal government nor individuals can sustain. This is not to say that I predict movement to a single payer system — that is just one perceived solution to the problem. There are far too many costs in healthcare that offer no benefits in terms of quality; indeed, such costs are a true impediment to quality. Funds that go to infrastructure (insurance companies and other intermediaries) and the demands they put on healthcare delivery work directly against quality of care. So, in the U.S., whether Obamacare persists (most likely) or is replaced with a single payer system, state administered healthcare (exchanges) or some other as-yet-unidentified form, there will be change in how healthcare is delivered from a cost/management perspective. 

From the clinical practice and technology side, there will be enormous changes to healthcare. Here are examples of what I see from tracking trends in clinical practice and medical technology development:

  • Cancer 5 year survival rates will, for many cancers, be well over 90%. Cancer will largely be transformed in most cases to chronic disease that can be effectively managed by surgery, immunology, chemotherapy and other interventions. Cancer and genomics, in particular, has been a lucrative study (see The Cancer Genome Atlas). Immunotherapy developments are also expected to be part of many oncology solutions. Cancer has been a tenacious foe, and remains one we will be fighting for a long time, but the fight will have changed from virtually incapacitating the patient to following protocols that keep cancer in check, if not cure/prevent it. 
  • Diabetes Type 1 (juvenile onset) will be managed in most patients by an “artificial pancreas”, a closed loop glucometer and insulin pump that will self-regulate blood glucose levels. OR, stem cell or other cell therapies may well achieve success in restoring normal insulin production and glucose metabolism in Type 1 patients. The odds are better that a practical, affordable artificial pancreas will developed than stem or other cell therapy, but both technologies are moving aggressively and will gain dramatic successes within 20 years.

Developments in the field of the “artificial pancreas” have recently gathered considerable pace, such that, by 2035, type 1 blood glucose management may be no more onerous than a house thermostat due to the sophistication and ease-of-use made possible with the closed loop, biofeedback capabilities of the integrated glucometer, insulin pump and the algorithms that drive it, but that will not be the end of the development of better options for type 1 diabetics. Cell therapy for type 1 diabetes, which may be readily achieved by one or more of a wide variety of cellular approaches and product forms (including cell/device hybrids) may well have progressed by 2035 to become another viable alternative for type 1 diabetics.

  • Diabetes Type 2 (adult onset) will be a significant problem governed by different dynamics than Type 1. A large body of evidence will exist that shows dramatically reduced incidence of Type 2 associated with obesity management (gastric bypass, satiety drugs, etc.) that will mitigate the growing prevalence of Type 2, but research into pharmacologic or other therapies may at best achieve only modest advances. The problem will reside in the complexity of different Type 2 manifestation, the late onset of the condition in patients who are resistant to the necessary changes in lifestyle and the global epidemic that will challenge dissemination of new technologies and clinical practices to third world populations.

Despite increasing levels of attention being raised to the burden of type 2 worldwide, including all its sequellae (vascular, retinal, kidney and other diseases), the pace of growth globally in type 2 is still such that it will represent a problem and target for pharma, biotech, medical device, and other disciplines.

  • Cell therapy and tissue engineering will offer an enormous number of solutions for conditions currently treated inadequately, if at all. Below is an illustration of the range of applications currently available or in development, a list that will expand (along with successes in each) over the next 20 years.

    Cell therapy will have deeply penetrated virtually every medical specialty by 2035. Most advanced will be those that target less complex tissues: bone, muscle, skin, and select internal organ tissues (e.g., bioengineered bladder, others). However, development will have also followed the money. Currently, development and use of conventional technologies in areas like cardiology, vascular, and neurology entails high expenditure that creates enormous investment incentive that will drive steady development of cell therapy and tissue engineering over the next 20 years, with the goal of better, long-term and/or less costly solutions.
  • Gene therapy will be an option for a majority of genetically-based diseases (especially inherited diseases) and will offer clinical options for non-inherited conditions. Advances in the analysis of inheritance and expression of genes will also enable advanced interventions to either ameliorate or actually preempt the onset of genetic disease.

    As the human genome is the engineering plans for the human body, it is a potential mother lode for the future of medicine, but it remains a complex set of plans to elucidate and exploit for the development of therapies. While genetically-based diseases may readily be addressed by gene therapies in 2035, the host of other diseases that do not have obvious genetic components will resist giving up easy gene therapy solutions. Then again, within 20 years a number of reasonable advances in understanding and intervention could open the gate to widespread “gene therapy” (in some sense) for a breadth of diseases and conditions –> Case in point, the recent emergence of the gene-editing technology, CRISPR, has set the stage for practical applications to correct genetically-based conditions.
  • Drug development will be dramatically more sophisticated, reducing the development time and cost while resulting in drugs that are far more clinically effective (and less prone to side effects). This arises from drug candidates being evaluated via distributed processing systems (or quantum computer systems) that can predict efficacy and side effect without need of expensive and exhaustive animal or human testing.The development of effective drugs will have been accelerated by both modeling systems and increases in our understanding of disease and trauma, including pharmacogenomics to predict drug response. It may not as readily follow that the costs will be reduced, something that may only happen as a result of policy decisions.
  • Most surgical procedures will achieve the ability to be virtually non-invasive. Natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) will enable highly sophisticated surgery without ever making an abdominal or other (external) incision. Technologies like “gamma knife” and similar will have the ability to destroy tumors or ablate pathological tissue via completely external, energy-based systems.

    By 2035, technologies such as these will measurably reduce inpatient stays, on a per capita basis, since a significant reason for overnight stays is the trauma requiring recovery, and eliminating trauma is a major goal and advantage of minimally invasive technologies (e.g., especially the NOTES technology platform). A wide range of other technologies (e.g., gamma knife, minimally invasive surgery/intervention, etc.) across multiple categories (device, biotech, pharma) will also have emerged and succeeded in the market by producing therapeutic benefit while minimizing or eliminating collateral damage.

Information technology will radically improve patient management. Very sophisticated electronic patient records will dramatically improve patient care via reduction of contraindications, predictive systems to proactively manage disease and disease risk, and greatly improve the decision-making of physicians tasked with diagnosing and treating patients.There are few technical hurdles to the advancement of information technology in medicine, but even in 2035, infotech is very likely to still be facing real hurdles in its use as a result of the reluctance in healthcare to give up legacy systems and the inertia against change, despite the benefits.

  • Personalized medicine. Perfect matches between a condition and its treatment are the goal of personalized medicine, since patient-to-patient variation can reduce the efficacy of off-the-shelf treatment. The thinking behind gender-specific joint replacement has led to custom-printed 3D implants. The use of personalized medicine will also be manifested by testing to reveal potential emerging diseases or conditions, whose symptoms may be ameliorated or prevented by intervention before onset.
  • Systems biology will underlie the biology of most future medical advances in the next 20 years. Systems biology is a discipline focused on an integrated understanding of cell biology, physiology, genetics, chemistry, and a wide range of other individual medical and scientific disciplines. It represents an implicit recognition of an organism as an embodiment of multiple, interdependent organ systems and its processes, such that both pathology and wellness are understood from the perspective of the sum total of both the problem and the impact of possible solutions.This orientation will be intrinsic to the development of medical technologies, and will increasingly be represented by clinical trials that throw a much wider and longer-term net around relevant data, staff expertise encompassing more medical/scientific disciplines, and unforeseen solutions that present themselves as a result of this approach.Other technologies being developed aggressively now will have an impact over the next twenty years, including medical/surgical robots (or even biobots), neurotechnologies to diagnose, monitor, and treat a wide range of conditions (e.g., spinal cord injury, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s etc.).

The breadth and depth of advances in medicine over the next 20 years will be extraordinary, since many doors have been recently opened as a result of advances in genetics, cell biology, materials science, systems biology and others — with the collective advances further stimulating both learning and new product development. 


See the 2016 report #290, “Worldwide Markets for Medical and Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats, 2015-2022.”

The Demand for Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats in 2016

The following is drawn from “Worldwide Markets for Medical and Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats, 2015-2022.” Report #S290.

The need for surgical sealants, glues and hemostats is directly related to the clinical caseload and procedure volumes, as well as to the adoption of these products for multiple uses, such as the use of one product for sealing, hemostasis and anti-adhesion. It is fair to say that use of these products has become routine in the surgical suite and in other clinical locations. Procedure volumes are in turn driven by demographic forces, including global aging populations, while regulatory changes will continue to influence uptake of these products.

wound-prevalance

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S290.

Medical Sealants

Fibrin sealants are made of a combination of thrombin and fibrinogen. These sealants may be sprayed on the bleeding surface, or applied using a patch. Surgical sealants might be made of glutaraldehyde and bovine serum albumin, polyethylene glycol polymers, and cyanoacrylates.

Sealants are most often used to stop bleeding over a large area. If the surgeon wishes to fasten down a flap without using sutures, or in addition to using sutures, then the product used is usually a medical glue.

Hemostatic Products

The surgeon and the perioperative nurse have a variety of hemostats from which to choose, as they are not all alike in their applications and efficacy. Selection of the most appropriate hemostat requires training and experience, and can affect the clinical outcome, as well as decrease treatment costs. Some of the factors that enter into the decision-making process include the size of the wound, the amount of hemorrhaging, potential adverse effects, whether the procedure is MIS or open surgery, and others.

Active hemostats contain thrombin products which may be derived from several sources, such as bovine pooled plasma purification, human pooled plasma purification, or through human recombinant manufacturing processes. Flowable-type hemostats are made of a granular bovine or porcine gelatin that is combined with saline or reconstituted thrombin, forming a flowable putty that may be applied to the bleeding area.

Medical Glues

Sealants and glues are terms which are often used interchangeably, which can be confusing. In this report, a medical glue is defined as a product used to bond two surfaces together securely. Surgeons are increasingly reaching for medical glues to either help secure a suture line, or to replace sutures entirely in the repair of soft tissues. Medical glues are also utilized in repairing bone fractures, especially for highly comminuted fractures that often involve many small fragments. This helps to spread out the force-bearing surface, rather than focusing weight-bearing on spots where a pin has been inserted.

Thus, the surgeon has a fairly wide array of products from which to choose. The choice of which surgical hemostat or sealant to use depends on several factors, including the procedure being conducted, the type of bleeding, severity of the hemorrhage, the surgeon’s experience with the products, the surgeon’s preference, the price of the product and availability at the time of surgery. For example, a product which has a long shelf life and does not require refrigeration or other special storage, and which requires no special preparation, usually holds advantages over a product which must be mixed before use, or held in a refrigerator during storage, then allowed to warm up to room temperature before use.

 

Sealant, Glues, Hemostat Sales to Surge in Asia-Pacific

Growth in Asia-Pacific sales of sealants, glues, and hemostats will outstrip growth in the larger U.S. market.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 2.00.48 PM

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S290.

To request a set of report excerpts, click here.

Recent Merger and Acquisition Activity in Sealants, Glues and Hemostats

Growth in sealants, glues, and hemostats markets has been strong enough for long enough to have attracted a lot of players. With growth slowing as the untapped potential is reducing more rapidly, consolidation has now appeared in the natural order of things.

Recent Merger and Acquisition Activity in Sealants, Glues and Hemostats

Original Company/ ProductAcquiring or Collaborating CompanyDate of Acquisition/Collaboration DealFinancial Details (where revealed)
Bristol-Myers Squibb/ Recothrom¨ Thrombin topical hemostatThe Medicines Company2012/2014$105 million collaboration fee
Cohera Medical/TissuGlu¨Collaboration with B. Braun Surgical S.A. to distribute in Germany, Spain and Portugal.Jan. 2015B. Braun Surgical S.A. will exclusively market and sell TissuGlu in the territories of Germany, Spain and Portugal through its existing Closure Technologies commercial teams.
Profibrix/ FibroCapsThe Medicines Company2013$90 million, with $140 million contingent upon milestones
Medafor/Arista¨ AH Absorbable Hemostatic ParticlesCR Bard (Bard Davol)2013$200 million upfront payment
Tenaxis Medical, with ArterX (among other products)The Medicines Company2014$58 million in upfront payments
The Medicines Company/ PreveLeakª (formerly known as ArterX), Raplixaª(formerly known as FibroCaps) fibrin sealant, Recothrom¨ Thrombin topical (Recombinant) sealantMallinckrodt plc2016The entire deal has a potential value of $410 million.
Xcede Technologies, Inc./Resorbable Hemostatic PatchCollaboration with Cook BiotechJan-16Signed three collaboration agreements with Cook Biotech, including a Development Agreement, a License Agreement and a Supply Agreement to complete development, seek regulatory clearance and produce XcedeÕs resorbable hemostatic patch.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S290.

To request a set of report excerpts, click here.

Sealants, hemostats, glues — future markets foreseen

From our past coverage of surgical sealants, glues, hemostats in our 2014 Report #S192.  (See the forthcoming June 2016 report, “Worldwide Markets for Medical and Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats, 2015-2022”, Report #S290.)

Fibrin and synthetic sealants offer a significant advantage over pure hemostats because they do not rely on the full complement of blood factors to produce hemostasis. Sealants provide all the components necessary to prevent bleeding and will often prevent bleeding from tissues where blood flow is under pressure and the damage is extensive.

CryoLife
Source: CryoLife

These products have the potential to replace sutures in some cases where speed and strength of securement are priorities for the surgical procedure.

Biologically active sealants typically contain various formulations of fibrin and/or thrombin, either of human or animal origin, which mimic or facilitate the final stages of the coagulation cascade. The most common consist of a liquid fibrin sealant product in which fibrinogen and thrombin are stored separately as a frozen liquid or lyophilized powder. Before use, both components need to be reconstituted or thawed and loaded into a two-compartment applicator device that allows mixing of the two components just prior to delivery to the wound. Because of the laborious preparation process, these products are not easy to use. However, manufacturers have been developing some new formulations designed to make the process more user friendly. Leaders in biologic surgical sealant space include Baxter International and Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Biosurgery division, but there are a number of smaller suppliers as well, in what has become an increasingly crowded field.

Compared to biologically active sealants containing fibrin and other human- or animal-derived products, synthetic sealants represent a much larger segment of the sealant market in terms of the number of competitors, variety of products, and next-generation products in development. Non-active synthetic sealants do not contain ingredients such as fibrin that actively mediate the blood clotting cascade, rather they act as mechanical hemostats, binding with or adhering to the tissues to help stop or prevent active bleeding during surgery.

Synthetic sealants represent an active category for R&D investment in large part because they offer several advantages over fibrin-based and other biologically active sealants. First and foremost, they are not derived from animal or human donor sources and thus eliminate the risks of disease transmission. Moreover, they are typically easier to use than biological products, often requiring no mixing or special storage, and many of these products have demonstrated improved sealing strength versus their biological counterparts. Synthetic products also have the potential to be more cost-effective than their biologically active counterparts. Leaders in the synthetic surgical sealants space include Baxter International Inc., CryoLife, CR Bard, and Ethicon/J&J; however, there are many up-and-coming competitors operating in this segment of the market with some interesting next-generation technologies that could gain significant traction in the years ahead. Moreover, unlike the fibrin sealants segment, where most products have more general indications for surgical hemostasis, a good number of competitors in the synthetic sealant field are focused on specific clinical applications for their products, such as cardiovascular surgery, plastic surgery, or ophthalmic surgery.

Sealants-Hemostats-Glues-companies-by-type
Source: Report #S192 (pub. 2014)

The non-active hemostats segment of the market includes a variety of scaffolds, patches, sponges, putties, powders, and matrices made of various nonactive materials that act mechanically to stop/absorb active bleeding, often in conjunction with manual compression, during surgical procedures as well as emergency use. Many of the companies active in the first two market segments discussed above also participate in this sector, including Ethicon/J&J, CR Bard, Baxter, and CryoLife, but there are also many other companies that compete in the hemostats market worldwide.


MedMarket Diligence is completing a global analysis of medical and surgical sealants, glues, and hemostats to reveal the patterns of sales, product adoption rates, and the realized/unrealized opportunities for extant stakeholders inclusive of manufacturers, buyers, and the investment arena. Publishing in June 2016, Report #S290, “Worldwide Markets for Medical and Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats, 2015-2022”.

 

Sutures, Staples and Other Fading Technologies

See Report #S192, “Worldwide Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Wound Closure Markets, 2013-2018”. (Note: This report has been superceded by the August 2016 Report #S290.)

Sutures have been in use for potentially thousands of years, and staples for the last several decades. Both have been frequently been the target of new development in wound closure and management, with competition in the form of advanced wound closure, whether surgical sealants, glues, hemostats, and even other mechanical wound closure. Novel wound closure technologies have decidedly gained enough credibility in clinical practice to displace volume in sutures and staples.

Sutures and Staples Are Not Fading…

Manufacturers of sutures and staples have not sat idly and watched their share erode. Indeed, the development of bioresorbable sutures and other novel suture types, the development of sophisticated stapling and suturing endoscopic instrumentation and other developments have begun to erode the share loss. Consequently, the shift “away” from sutures and staples has ebbed, such that the aggregate swing in market shares is no more than 3% compared to the swing projected three years ago of nearly 7% (see link).

Sutures and Staples in Wound Closure (excerpt from Report #S192)

The vast majority of sutures, staples, and endostaples are used to close procedures involving acute surgical wounds. Typically, chronic wounds do not involve the use of sutures and staple products unless some degree of surgical intervention is employed to remove necrotic tissue or to create a new acute wound bed to aid healing.

Sutures are classified as absorbable or non-absorbable; monofilament, multifilament or braided; and natural or synthetic. Absorbable or non-absorbable describes the suture’s effective life within tissue. Absorbable sutures lose the majority of their tensile strength within 60 days after use. Non-absorbable sutures are resistant to living tissue and do not break down. Monofilament, multifilament, and braided describe the structure or configuration of the suture based on the number of strands used to manufacture the product. Natural or synthetic refers to the origin of the suture. Natural suture materials include surgical gut, chromic gut, catgut and silk. Catgut is made from the natural collagen fibers found in the intestine of sheep, goats, cattle, hogs and horses. (It was never made from the gut of cats.) It is debatable whether catgut should continue to be used for suturing wounds, since cotton is cheaper and cotton or synthetic threads are less likely to cause infection. Synthetic suture materials include nylon, polyester, stainless steel, polypropylene, polyglycolic acid (PGA), polyglycolide-co-caprolactone (PGCL), and polydioxanone.

Suture products consist of two component parts, the needle and the suture. These can be found in a wide range of sizes and types, made of a range of materials, and the method of attachment of the suture to the needle can involve a variety of methods. Sutures are divided into braided and monofilament categories. Braided sutures are typically more pliable than monofilament and exhibit better knot security. Monofilament sutures are wirier and may require a more secure knot; however, they cause less tissue drag than braided sutures, a characteristic that is especially important in cardiovascular, ophthalmic and neurological surgery

Stapler devices are an evolution of suture technology. The goal of stapler products is to avoid infection and make the wound closure procedure easier and faster.  Staples are made of stainless steel and biomaterials and are used to join internal tissues, reconstruct or seal off organs, remove diseased tissue, occlude blood vessels, and close skin incisions and lacerations. They are primarily used during surgery as internal and/or external closure devices.

Staples are available in an assortment of sizes and features and stapler devices have been developed for specific procedures as well as for multiple uses.

Internal staplers are used to approximate (or close) internal tissues and organs. The devices may be reusable or disposable. Some disposable staplers may be reloaded several times during the course of a single patient surgical procedure, before being discarded.

The most recent internal staplers are used to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures. These allow the surgeon to endoscopically secure internal wounds instead of having to operate through an open procedure. Moreover, internal biodegradable staples obviate the need for staple removal. Such staples are ideally suited to laparoscopic surgery and are delivered via procedure-specific laparoscopic instruments. However, most staples are still made of stainless steel and when used for internal stapling procedures, whether open or laparoscopic, are not removed after healing. Skin staples are removed after the incision is healed.

Probably the major benefit of staples is that they can be applied more rapidly than sutures and can be placed precisely without requiring the skill necessary for suturing. This also means increased safety for the patient, and patients can often be discharged more rapidly if procedures are stapled rather than sutured.

While cosmetically acceptable results are usually obtained, staplers normally are not used in highly visible areas such as the face. Here, surgeons will still close by hand to minimize any scarring. In many skin closure procedures, sutures have begun to be replaced by cyanoacrylate glues. However, the ideal alternative to suturing has not yet been developed; for example, cyanoacrylate glues used for external skin closure are only one-fifth as strong as sutures.

Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats: Bioactive, Nonactive, Matrices/Scaffolds

(See the 2016 published report #S290, “Sealants, Glues, Hemostats, 2016-2022”.)

Drawn from: “Worldwide Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Wound Closure Markets, 2013-2018”, Report #S192.

Sealants and glues are emerging as important adjunctive tools for sealing staple and suture lines, and some of these products also are being employed as general hemostatic agents to control bleeding in the surgical field. Manufacturers have also developed surgical sealants and glues that are designed for specific procedures – particularly those in which staples and sutures are difficult to employ or where additional reinforcement of the internal suture/staple line provides an important safety advantage.

Surgical sealants are made of synthetic or naturally occurring materials and are commonly used with staples or sutures to help completely seal internal and external incisions after surgery. In this capacity, they are particularly important for lung, spinal, and gastrointestinal operations, where leaks of air, cerebrospinal fluid, or blood through the anastomosis can cause numerous complications. Limiting these leaks results in reduced mortality rates, less post-operative pain, shorter hospital stays for patients, and decreased health care costs.

Although some form of suturing wounds has been used for thousands of years, sutures and staples can be troublesome. There are procedures in which sutures are too large or clumsy to place effectively, and locations in which it is difficult for the surgeon to suture. Moreover, sutures can lead to complications, such as intimal hyperplasia, in which cells respond to the trauma of the needle and thread by proliferating on the inside wall of the blood vessel, causing it to narrow at that point. This increases the risk of a blood clot forming and obstructing blood flow. In addition, sutures and staples may trigger an immune response, leading to inflamed tissue that also increases the risk of a blockage. Finally, as mentioned above, sutured and stapled internal incisions may leak, leading to dangerous post-surgical complications.

These are some of the reasons why surgical adhesives are becoming increasingly popular, both for use in conjunction with suture and staples and on a stand-alone basis. As a logical derivative, surgeons want a sealant product that is strong, easy-to-use and affordable, while being biocompatible and resorbable. In reality, it is difficult for manufacturers to meet all of these requirements, particularly with biologically active sealants, which tend to be pricey. Thus, for physicians, there is usually a trade-off to consider when deciding whether or not to employ these products.

Surgical sealants, glues, and hemostats can be divided into several different categories based on their primary components and/or their intended use.

  • Products containing biologically active agents (e.g., Baxter Tisseel, Bristol-Myers Squibb Recothrom)
  • Products made from natural and synthetic (nonactive) components (e.g., Baxter CoSeal, Cohera Sylys)

  • Nonactive scaffolds, patches, sponges, putties, powders, and matrices used as surgical hemostats (e.g., Beekin Biomedical NuStat, Equimedical Equitamp)
RevMedX XStat

 

(See the 2016 published report #S290, “Sealants, Glues, Hemostats, 2016-2022”.)

Bioactive and Synthetic Sealants in Wound Closure

The following is excerpted from sections of Report #S192, “Worldwide Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Wound Closure Markets, 2013-2018”, published by MedMarket Diligence, LLC.

Sealants and glues in wound closure may be comprised of naturally-occurring (bioactive) ingredients (including from human or animal) or may be synthetic in origin. Many bioactives are comprised primarily of fibrin sealant, give its evolutionary design in stopping bleeding and sealing wounds. Bioactive sealants offer the benefit of well documented performance with lack of toxicity, but with the existing sealants on the market, the strength of the closure provided falls somewhat short of what is needed for sealants to be used autonomously in all but the least challenging closure conditions. For this reason, a wide range of other biologically active agents with higher sealant strength are in various phases of evaluation (See “Gecko feet, mussel shells and other sticky things” at link).

Bioactive sealants that on the market and in development are detailed at link.

Compared to biologically active sealants containing fibrin and other human- or animal-derived products, synthetic sealants represent a much larger segment of the sealant market in terms of the number of competitors, variety of products, and next-generation products in development. Non-active synthetic sealants do not contain ingredients such as fibrin that actively mediate the blood clotting cascade, rather they act as mechanical hemostats, binding with or adhering to the tissues to help stop or prevent active bleeding during surgery.

Synthetic sealants that are on the market and in development are detailed at link.

Below is the global surgical wound closure products market.

Surgical Wound Closure Products Market, by Device Segment

 

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S192.