Wound management practice patterns, products by wound type

From Report #S251, “Wound Management to 2024”.

Surgical wounds account for the vast majority of skin injuries. We estimate that there are approximately 100 million surgical incisions per year, growing at 3.1% CAGR, that require some wound management treatment. About 16 million operative procedures were performed in acute care hospitals in the USA. Approximately 80% of surgical incisions use some form of closure product: sutures, staples, and tapes. Many employ hemostasis products, and use fabric bandages and surgical dressings.

Surgical procedures generate a preponderance of acute wounds with uneventful healing and a lower number of chronic wounds, such as those generated by wound dehiscence or postoperative infection. Surgical wounds are most often closed by primary intention, where the two sides across the incision line are brought close and mechanically held together. Overall the severity and size of surgical wounds will continue to decrease as a result of the continuing trend toward minimally invasive surgery.

Surgical wounds that involve substantial tissue loss or may be infected are allowed to heal by secondary intention where the wound is left open under dressings and allowed to fill by granulation and close by epithelialization. Some surgical wounds may be closed through delayed primary intention where they are left open until such time as it is felt it is safe to suture or glue the wound closed.

Traumatic wounds occur at the rate of 50 million or more every year worldwide. They require cleansing and treatment with low-adherent dressings to cover the wound, prevent infection, and allow healing by primary intention. Lacerations are a specific type of trauma wound that are generally minor in nature and require cleansing and dressing for a shorter period. There are approximately 20 million lacerations a year as a result of cuts and grazes; they can usually be treated in the doctors’ surgery, outpatient medical center or hospital A&E departments.

Burn wounds can be divided into minor burns, medically treated, and hospitalized cases. Outpatient burn wounds are often treated at home, at the doctor’s surgery, or at outpatient clinics. As a result, a large number of these wounds never enter the formal health service system. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally about 11 million people are burned each year severely enough to require medical treatment. We estimate that approximately 3.5 million burns in this category do enter the outpatient health service system and receive some level of medical attention. In countries with more developed medical systems, these burns are treated using hydrogels and advanced wound care products, and they may even be treated with consumer-based products for wound healing.

Medically treated burn wounds usually receive more informed care to remove heat from the tissue, maintain hydration, and prevent infection. Advanced wound care products are used for these wounds. There are approximately 6.0 million burns such as this that are treated medically every year.

Hospitalized burn wounds are rarer and require more advanced and expensive care. These victims require significant care, nutrition, debridement, tissue grafting and often tissue engineering where available. They also require significant follow-up care and rehabilitation to mobilize new tissue, and physiotherapy to address changes in physiology. Growth rates within the burns categories are approximately 1.0% per annum.

Chronic wounds generally take longer to heal, and care is enormously variable, as is the time to heal. There are approximately 7.4 million pressure ulcers in the world that require treatment every year. Many chronic wounds around the world are treated sub-optimally with general wound care products designed to cover and absorb some exudates. The optimal treatment for these wounds is to receive advanced wound management products and appropriate care to address the underlying defect that has caused the chronic wound; in the case of pressure ulcers a number of advanced devices exist to reduce pressure for patients. There are approximately 9.7 million venous ulcers, and approximately 10.0 million diabetic ulcers in the world requiring treatment. Chronic wounds are growing in incidence due to the growing age of the population, and the growth is also due to increasing awareness and improved diagnosis. Growth rates for pressure and venous ulcers are 6%–7% in the developed world as a result of these factors.

Diabetic ulcers are growing more rapidly due mainly to increased incidence of both Type I and maturity-onset diabetes in the developed countries around the world. The prevalence of diabetic ulcers is rising at 9% annually. Every year 5% of diabetics develop foot ulcers and 1% require amputation. The recurrence rate of diabetic foot ulcers is 66%; the amputation rate rises to 12% with subsequent ulcerations. At present, this pool of patients is growing faster than the new technologies are reducing the incidence of wounds by healing them.

Wound management products are also used for a number of other conditions including amputations, carcinomas, melanomas, and other complicated skin cancers, all of which are on the increase.

A significant feature of all wounds is the likelihood of pathological infection occurring. Surgical wounds are no exception, and average levels of infection of surgical wounds are in the range of 7%–10%, depending upon the procedure. These infections can be prevented by appropriate cleanliness, surgical discipline and skill, wound care therapy, and antibiotic prophylaxis. Infections usually lead to more extensive wound care time, the use of more expensive products and drugs, significantly increased therapist time, and increased morbidity and rehabilitation time. A large number of wounds will also be sutured to accelerate closure, and a proportion of these will undergo dehiscence and require aftercare for healing to occur.

For the detailed coverage of wounds, wound management products, companies, and markets, see report #S251, “Worldwide Wound Management to 2024”.

Fixing congenital heart defects on a global scale

Congenital heart abnormalities – which occur in an estimated 1.1% to 1.3% of infants born in the U.S. and worldwide each year – constitute leading cause of birth defect-related deaths. To-date, clinicians have identified and documented almost four dozens distinctive heart defects in newly born ranging from relatively simple and easily correctible abnormalities to complex and multiple anatomical malformations.

The most commonly encountered congenital heart abnormalities accounting for the majority of all diagnosed cases include: ventricular septal defect (VSD); tetralogy of Fallot (TOF); transposition of great vessels (TGV); atrioventricular septal defect (ASD); and coarctation of aorta (COA).

Selection of treatment protocols for congenital heart defects depends on the morphology of the abnormality and its immediate and long-term impact on cardiopulmonary function and patient’s prognosis (threat to survival).

Many asymptomatic patients with minor defects (typically representing unresolved inheritance from normal fetal development, such as trans-septal conduits that are supposed to close at birth) might be put on a “watchful waiting” regime.

Some symptomatic and functionally compromising congenital heart defects can be treated with minimally invasive percutaneous (transcatheter) techniques. To-date, percutaneous repair tools have been developed and clinically tested for several common congenital myocardial abnormalities including: patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), atrial septal defect, ventricular septal defect and patent foramen ovale (PFO). In all instances, the primary objective of the transcatheter approach was to reduce morbidity, mortality and costs associated with the procedure by achieving septal repair or closure via endovascular implantation of specially-configures occluding or sealing devices.

In cases involving complex, debilitating and life threatening congenital myocardial abnormalities (such as Tetralogy of Fallot, transposition of great vessels, etc.) one or several corrective open heart surgeries represent the only route to patient survival. Such surgeries are typically performed during the first year of infant’s life and carry a 5% risk of mortality, on average.

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Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #C500, “Global Dynamics of Cardiovascular Surgical and Interventional Procedures, 2015-2022.”

Based on the available industry data and MedMarket Diligence estimates, in 2015, approximately 387 thousand congenital heart defect repair procedures were performed worldwide, of which less invasive transcatheter interventions accounted for about 24.3% and open heart corrective surgeries for the remaining 75.7%.

For the period 2015 to 2022, the cumulative global volume of congenital heart defect repair procedures is projected to grow 1.9% per annum to approximately 444 thousand percutaneous and surgical interventions in the year 2022. The usage of transcatheter procedures can be expected to experience significantly faster 9.0% average annual growth (partially at the expense of corrective open heart surgeries for septal defects), reflecting mostly accelerated transition to minimally invasive percutaneous septal defect repair in APAC and ROW market geographies (where the latter techniques currently used only in 15% to 22% of corresponding procedures, compared to 60% to 75% in Western Europe and the U.S.).

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.”

New medical technologies at startups in December 2015

Listed below are the technologies under development at medical technology startups identified in December 2015 and added to the Medtech Startups Database.

  • 3D-printed, patient-specific implants
  • Therapeutic temperature management.
  • Vessel preparation angioplasty balloon.
  • Control system for minimally invasive surgical tools.
  • Surgical solutions focused on robotic and other technology.
  • Undisclosed products, but based on brain-gut pathway; principals with background in diabetes, endocrinology.
  • Robotically-assisted minimal access surgery.
  • Novel catheter device as a treatment for heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.

For a historical listing of medtech startups identified by month, see link.

Product Development in Surgical Glues

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

Surgical closure and securement products range from simple suture products to sophisticated biomaterial aids for hemostasis, sealant activity, and for adhesion prevention. Within the hemostasis field, products have the objective of rapidly achieving hemostasis and acting to seal in the presence of high pressure blood flow or air flow.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 3.49.13 PMDevelopment Timelines
Natural hemostats such as gelatin, collagen and thrombin were first developed as hemostatic agents, followed by mixes and fibrin sealants. More recently, companies have introduced synthetic sealants and hemostats that accelerate the process of blood clotting and provide a stronger seal that will withstand greater pressures. These products employ various synthetic polymer chemistry systems. Glues are required to secure tissue firmly under substantial forces. In extreme cases such as musculoskeletal repair, these glues need to withstand high tension and pressure forces. Fibrin and other sealants are not strong enough for these applications and have been used as adjuncts to sutures and staples. Cyanoacrylate glues have sufficient strength for most procedures but are not yet cleared for use in the majority of internal applications due to toxicity concerns. They also lack sufficient flexibility for use in many procedures.

Efforts are progressing to develop new biomaterials capable of gluing tissues with high strength, low toxicity, and sufficient flexibility to avoid breakage of the bond. In addition, cyanoacrylate manufacturers are examining the possibility of improving cyanoacrylate technology to overcome the existing challenges of toxicity and brittleness. Despite this huge challenge, one or both of these two approaches are likely to establish new products in the next decade. In addition, the evidence of research work suggests it should be possible to create a glue technology that incorporates hemostatic properties to further enhance the role of this technology.

Apart from fibrin-based sealants and cyanoacrylate-based high-strength glues, there are three other main categories of closure/attachment products in use or in development at present.

Collagen and Thrombin Combination
Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 3.54.26 PMCollagen is a major protein found in most mammals; the form of collagen that is generally used for wound sealant and closure is a white water-soluble fiber containing several key amino acids. In most sealants, collagen forms a matrix on which thrombin (but also fibrin, polyethylene glycol (PEG) polymers, or other compounds) are attached. The role of the collagen matrix is to channel blood with its various clotting proteins to the compounds attached to the matrix (thrombin, etc.), triggering a clotting cascade.

Polyethylene Glycol Polymer (PEG)
Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 3.55.52 PMPolymers such as polyethylene glycol polymer (PEG) can absorb fluids and are the basis for products to seal and join tissues. CoSeal (Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, marketed by Baxter BioSurgery) and FocalSeal (Genzyme) are two products of this type. They are completely synthetic and offer quick sealing of the wound with the flexibility to expand and contract. Because these sealants are synthetic, they do not pose the risk of viral infection spreading from one person to another.

Albumin Cross-Linked with Glutaraldehyde
Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 3.58.05 PMAlbumin, the protein that forms egg white, is one of the strongest natural adhesives in the market. Albumins are water-soluble and will coagulate when heated or combined with certain acids. When combined with glutaraldehyde, albumin forms a strong adhesive for internal surgery. The albumin/glutaraldehyde compound forms a cross-link with the tissues to be bonded that can even be stronger than the underlying tissues. In fact, the compound has been shown to withstand pressures of 500 mm–800 mm of mercury, which is more than four times normal human blood pressure.

CryoLife’s BioGlue is a widely used albumin/glutaraldehyde glue. It begins to set within 20–30 seconds of application and reaches its ultimate bonding strength within two minutes.

It is unlikely that any one formulation of tissue glue will be adequate for all applications. For example, fixing fragments of bone after significant bone trauma is likely to require an adhesive with a different modulus and strength to that required for adherence of pericardium during cardiovascular surgery. It is also likely that the sealant and hemostatic properties of these two products will need to be different. For example, to stick pericardial tissues together, the surgeon will be concerned with avoiding surgical adhesions and excessive fibrosis that might lead to problems during revision surgery. In the example of bone repair, rapid rehabilitation and avoidance of non-unions during fracture healing is a major challenge: this would suggest looking for a glue that encourages osteoblast activity and does not form an impenetrable barrier for cellular in- growth, but which can also tolerate the static and dynamic forces put upon bone.

Recently, new technologies have appeared on the market to address the need for adhesion prevention. These products have been formulated to be approvable by the FDA through device regulation routes; thus, in addition to providing a physical barrier, these products also may have some subsidiary active mechanism to achieve their objective.

Delivery Systems

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Source: CryoLife

In parallel with new products, in several instances new delivery systems have had to be developed. Surgeons also experiment with these products in an effort to produce superior results. A surgeon may, for example, mix a sealant with a few ml of saline to gain greater control over product application. Development of these delivery systems may be driven by several factors, such as: to improve the speed and ease of surgical procedures; to facilitate complex procedures that would otherwise be less successful; to better access a particular tissue; or to avoid premature mixing of two components, thus providing better control of the gluing process. New delivery systems have evolved to spray liquid hemostat solutions such as thrombin onto surgical sites to improve speed of hemostasis. Fibrin sealant is supplied as two powders that need to be solubilized and then mixed immediately prior to application to the surgical site. This has led to the development of a number of sophisticated medical delivery devices, and companies like Baxter aredeveloping single component systems that are already solubilized for immediate use in the surgical theater.

Cyanoacrylate adhesive for surgical closure is a topical-only treatment that eventually sloughs off the top surface of the wound. The product is applied to the surface of the skin to form a glue film that secures apposition of the cut edges of the incision. Currently, the cyanoacrylate is supplied in a device that aids the curing of the adhesive and ensures its safe handling and application.

Several fairly sophisticated delivery systems for new sealant and glue products have been developed or are currently under development. As new procedures are developed for cyanoacrylate and new glues, new devices will be required to aid the procedure. The devices will contribute an increasing proportion of the value associated with the gluing process.

Sophisticated surgical instruments are being developed to facilitate the application in each new indication for new high-strength glue products. High-strength glues are increasingly being utilized to repair vascular joints in coronary bypass operations. Customized instrumentation is designed to hold vessels in place and facilitate the application of exact amounts of adhesive and to avoid subsequent delays from leakage, or imperfect integration of the grafted tissues.


Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S190, “Worldwide Surgical Sealants, Glues, Wound Closure and Anti-Adhesion Markets, 2010-2017.”

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

Coverage of ongoing developments in interventional cardiology and surgical technologies

Through the course of tracking multiple subjects for ongoing awareness of new developments in clinical practice, product development, market development and other activity impacting the medtech markets we track, we have identified multiple worthwhile sources of content, which in turn has provided background to our in house research and analysis, which we publish through our proprietary Market and Technology Reports and the Medtech Startups Database, as well as through this blog.

For the purpose of providing regularly available information of interest to our core audience, we will be progressively building aggregates of our proprietary content and select outside sources through specific pages on the MedMarket Diligence website.  Initially, there are two specific topics we will be tracking and the regularly updated content on them are provided at the links below:

We will be expanding these topics as time permits.  We suggest you bookmark them for future reference.  

We welcome any feedback on other topics of interest, as well as any relevant newsfeed sources (many or all of which can be integrated).