Energy-Based Devices in General Surgery

The dynamic market for energy-based devices used in general surgery is growing steadily with compounded annual growth rates of 12% projected for the short term. This market includes devices based on ultrasonic, radio frequency (RF), light, thermal, hydromechanical, cryogenic and microwave technologies.

The popularity of ultrasonic devices is due in large part to the fact that they do not utilize heat when sealing tissues, thus effectively eliminating smoke from the operating room. This can reduce costs for hospitals as the absence of smoke eliminates the need for smoke evacuation systems. Meanwhile, the lack of smoke also improves the surgeon’s line of vision. Also to their benefit, ultrasonic surgical instruments combine cutting, grasping and coagulation into one tool set, thus further reducing cost while also reducing surgical time as there is no longer a need for intraoperative instrument exchanges. Lastly, patient safety is enhanced because with ultrasonic systems, there is no electric current passing though the patient’s body, which can result in lateral tissue damage.

The second largest segment in the market for energy-based devices used in general surgery comprises devices based on RF energy, which (like laser systems) rely on thermal welding to achieve tissue coagulation. RF devices comprise roughly 27% of the overall market for devices used in general surgery. Growth in this market segment is being driven by the introduction of new technologies into the marketplace.

Thermal energies, which are used most often in surgeries to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and menorrhagia, also have application in general surgery, however, less than 5% of the market is devoted to these systems. Newly developed hydromechanical (based on water-jet technology), cryogenic, and microwave systems also are being introduced into the market, thus further fueling market growth in devices designed for general surgery.

Many developments have occurred among the manufacturers in this dynamic market over the last several months.(Further details in August 2006 MedMarkets.)

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