Surgical Sealants and Glues in the Balance of Wound Closure

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.Suture-line-pixelated

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, in which 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, which 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.

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 9.28.14 AMClosure of general surgical wounds (internal or external) is largely accomplished by a combination of surgical tapes, sutures & staples and, increasingly, surgical sealants and glues. For the reasons discussed, the rates of technology development and adoption among these causing a relative but not absolute decline of sutures and staples revenues worldwide.

Surgical sealants, glues, and hemostats can be divided into several different categories based on their primary components and/or their intended use. From a practical standpoint, they may be subdivided by composition into products containing biologically active agents, products made from natural and synthetic (nonactive) components, and nonactive scaffolds, patches, sponges, putties, powders, and matrices used as surgical hemostats.

Data drawn from MedMarket Diligence, LLC, Report #S192, “Worldwide Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Wound Closure Markets, 2013-2018.” See link.


Report: Surgical Sealants, Glues, Wound Closure and Anti-adhesion Worldwide

MedMarket Diligence (MMD) has published its 2010 report on the worldwide market for surgical sealants and related products in surgical and traumatic wound management.

The analysis by MMD reveals the size of the evolving opportunity for a diverse set of products in global markets. Based on extensive primary and secondary research, and leveraging MMD’s position as the leading source for the medtech industry on the subject, the report provides industry participants and hopefuls with invaluable data and insights.

The report is described below and at link

This report details the complete range of sealants & glues technologies used in traumatic, surgical and other wound closure, from tapes, sutures and staples to hemostats, fibrin sealants/glues and medical adhesives. The report details current clinical and technology developments in this huge and rapidly growing worldwide market, with data on products in development and on the market; market size and forecast; competitor market shares; competitor profiles; and market opportunity.

This report is a market and technology assessment and forecast of surgical sealants, glues, hemostasis, other wound closure and anti-adhesion. The report details the current and emerging products, technologies and markets involved in wound closure and sealing using sutures and staples, tapes, hemostats, fibrin and sealant products, medical adhesives and products to prevent surgical adhesions. The report provides a worldwide historic (from 2008), current and annual forecast to 2015 of the markets for these technologies, with particular emphasis on the market impact of new technologies through the coming decade.  The report provides specific forecasts and shares of the worldwide market by segment for the U.S., Europe (United Kingdom, German, France, Italy, BeNeLux), Latin America, Japan, Korea and Rest of World.

The report provides background data on the surgical, disease and traumatic wound patient populations targeted by current technologies and those under development, and the current clinical practices in the management of these patients, including the dynamics among the various clinical specialties or subspecialties vying for patient population and facilitating or limiting the growth of technologies.

The report establishes the current worldwide market size for major technology segments as a baseline for and projecting growth in the market over a five-year forecast. The report also assesses and projects the composition of the market as technologies gain or lose relative market performance over this period.

See link for complete table of contents and list of exhibits.  The report may be ordered for immediate download from link.

Secrets of Bio Glues

Researchers at the University of Akron have revealed the evolutionary strength of spider web glue. Published in the May 17, 2010, issue of Nature Communications, the research revealed that the effectiveness and strength of the spider web glue ensues from the highly entangled, cross-linked polymers in each droplet of the glue, which enables the adhesive force to be transmitted throughout the glue.

UA researcher Vasav Sahni notes:

[The] stickiness of the glue droplets depends on the speed at which they are stretched.

Subsequently, the glue droplets can hold on to fast-flying insects when they initially impact webs and retain trapped insects for a time period long enough for them to be subdued by the spider.

“This finding should significantly benefit the development of synthetic adhesives for biomedical, orthopedics and wound-healing applications. The understanding of how spiders use this unique glue will allow scientists to develop reversible adhesives that work in the presence of water,” says Dhinojwala.

As we have often highlighted in the past ("Sea life and other sources of glue to mend people" link or "Bio Glues" link), a wide range of biological sources have been identified and are under evaluation (or adaptation) as medical and surgical glues due to their evolutionarily-designed strength, biocompatibility and other inherent advantages.

See also the MedMarket Diligence, "Worldwide Surgical Sealants, Glues and Wound Closure, 2009-2013." Report #S175

Wound closure, sealants, other securement sales in the Americas

Taken together, the Americas represent some 60% of the global market for surgical securement (sealants, glues, hemostasis, wound closure, anti-adhesion), led by the United States with more than 50%. The relative success of each product type varies between these markets, dominated by traditional sutures and staples, but with sealants rapidly penetrating and gaining share.


Source:  Report #S175, "Worldwide Surgical Sealants, Glues and Wound Closure Market, 2009-2013."

Geographic breakdown of surgical sealants and high strength glues markets

High strength glues and surgical sealants, with worldwide market growth rates at, respectively, about 14% and 18%, represent the highest growth segments in the worldwide wound management market, otherwise comprised of sutures/stapes, tapes, hemostasis and anti-adhesion products.

Below is the geographic segmentation of the worldwide market for these products, dominated by the U.S. and Europe.  However, as shown in report #S175, there is significant, emerging growth in a number of non-U.S. and non-European markets, illustrating the ready adoption these technologies have globally.


Source:  MedMarket Diligence report #S175, "Worldwide Surgical Sealants, Glues, Wound Closure and Anti-Adhesion Markets, 2009-2013."  See link for description, complete table of contents and list of exhibits.

Wound management: established and emerging products, technologies and markets worldwide

Below is a report from MedMarket Diligence on the worldwide wound management market.  The report is described in detail here.

Worldwide Wound Management, 2007-2016: Established and Emerging Products, Technologies and Markets in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Rest of World 

· 256 pages · 64 Exhibits · 69 Company Profiles · Report #S245 · Published Nov. 2007

This report details the complete range of products and technologies used in wound management and wound care, from dressings, bandages, hydrogels, tissue engineered products, physical treatments and others. The report details current clinical and technology developments in this huge worldwide market with high growth sectors, with data on products in development and on the market; market size and forecast; competitor market shares; competitor profiles; and market opportunity.

This report details the current and projected market for wound management products, including dressings, closure devices, debridement, pharmacological products, tissue engineered products and others. Particular emphasis is placed on advanced and leading edge developments (i.e., those approaching wound management from novel perspective) such as growth factors, stem cells, gene therapy and other approaches, while baseline data (current and forecast market size and current competitor market shares) is provided for established segments — multiple dressings types (film, foam, alginate, antibacterial, non-adherent), hydrogels, hydrocolloids, pharmaceuticals, and physical treatments. The report details the clinical and technology developments underlying the huge and evolving worldwide wound care market, with data on products in development and on the market; market size and forecast; competitor market shares; competitor profiles; and market opportunity. Separate size, growth and competitor data are presented for the U.S., leading western European countries, Japan and the Rest of World category. The report profiles leading and emerging companies, with profiles providing detailed profile information on major competitors, brief profiles of companies with less sizeable current or potential positions in the market, and additional profiles of companies with novel or advanced wound care research activities in the market.

The report establishes the current worldwide market size for major technology segments as a baseline for and projecting growth in the market over a ten-year forecast and assesses and projects the composition of the market as technologies gain or lose relative market performance over this period.

(For more information, see link or contact Patrick Driscoll, patrick at mediligence dot com, or tel: 949-859-3401.)

New Wound Closures Get Seal of Approval

From January 2008 issue of MedMarkets, with excerpts from Report #S145, "Worldwide Surgical Sealants, Glues & Wound Closure, 2007-2011."  This report has beeen updated by Report #S175, with forecasts for 2009-1013.

The market for surgical sealants is expected to grow in double digits over the next five years as aging populations drive increases in caseloads (see chart below). In addition, less morbidity and better outcomes are seen with the latest fibrin sealants, high-strength glues and adhesion prevention products, thus spurring increased adoption of these technologies over traditional wound closure methods.

There are several main categories of closure and securement devices in use in the OR: sutures and staples, tapes, hemostats, fibrin glues and sealants, adhesion prevention products, and soft tissue attachment products. Some leading companies in the modern wound closure market established their leadership positions when the market consisted exclusively of sutures, staples and tapes; others are new entrants based on expertise in areas such as adhesives. While the fibrin sealant market segment is dominated by Baxter Healthcare and CSL Behring, the high-strength glue segment is led by U.S. Surgical (now part of Covidien), Ethicon, and Aesculap (a B. Braun company). Key players in the market for adhesion prevention products are Ethicon, U.S. Surgical and Genzyme. Market shares for these companies are shown in the charts, “Leading Companies in the Sealants Market by Market Share.”


Fibrin—The Body’s Sealant

Fibrin sealants are the most useful surgical hemostats because they can be used to clot blood but are also valuable for sealing around suture lines for organ transplants, mastectomies, and various resection procedures, as well as to prevent leakage of fluids and gases. A number of companies, including Harvest Technologies, Plasmaseal, ThermoGenesis, and Interpore Cross Medical, have developed active mixes of growth factors to aid repair and devices capable of preparing autologous fibrin and platelet formulations that can be used as sealants. In July 2007, ThermoGenesis announced that the FDA had approved the CryoSeal FS system, the company’s autologous fibrin sealant, as an adjunct to hemostasis in liver resection surgery. The product was already cleared for sale throughout the European Community (CE Mark) for any type of surgery. The CryoSeal FS system, an automated device with a companion sterile blood processing disposable, is used to prepare fibrin sealants from plasma in about an hour. The system produces a surgical sealant by harvesting, from a patient’s plasma, wound healing proteins including fibrinogen and Factor VIII, and the activating enzyme thrombin. When combined at the bleeding wound site, the two components form an adhesive gel that helps stop bleeding and bonds tissue. Thrombin is a predecessor of fibrin in the clotting cascade and is involved in converting (soluble) fibrinogen to (insoluble) fibrin. It is used in combination with fibrin for accelerated hemostasis. On January 10, 2008, Omrix Biopharmaceuticals announced that the FDA had granted an expanded indication for general hemostasis in surgery for Evicel liquid fibrin sealant (human). Evicel is the first liquid fibrin sealant to be indicated as an adjunct to hemostasis for use in patients undergoing surgery when control of bleeding by standard surgical techniques is ineffective or impractical. Ethicon is Omrix’s marketing partner and will actively promote Evicel for a wide range of surgeries.

High-Strength Medical Adhesives

Fibrin-based wound closure products achieve hemostasis and have moderate adhesive properties that can help sutures to keep wound edges in apposition. Where greater adhesive strength is required, cyanoacrylate products are the main form of high-strength surgical glue approved for human clinical use. They are replacing sutures in many procedures but do not represent the ideal alternative to suturing, an ideal technology that is still sought by researchers. Cyanoacrylate glues used for external skin closure are approximately five times less strong than sutures, and cyanoacrylates produce cytotoxic compounds as part of the curing process when used for securing torn or excised tissue. This has delayed the development and clinical evaluation of potentially useful materials for internal surgical procedures. Nonetheless, cyanoacrylate glues are marketed actively by a number of companies for topical wound closure in accident/emergency situations and in surgical closure. Leading products in this category include Dermabond, which is developed by Closure Medical and marketed by Ethicon. Dermabond is marketed in about 40 countries under EU- and FDA-approval for topical wound closure. For Ethicon, Dermabond represents the culmination of a five-year joint development program with Closure Medical that started in 1996. Closure Medical, which is now incorporated into Ethicon, also developed Omnex vascular sealant, a high-strength adhesive that received the CE mark in 2005.

Post-Surgical Adhesion Prevention

Post-operative adhesions tend to arise when internal connective tissues are exposed to air and instrumentation during the surgical procedure and any irritation caused to internal organs. Abdominal surgery often leads to some form of adhesion formation, as does cardiovascular surgery. There are roughly 8 million–9 million abdominal surgeries, more than 2 million gynecologic surgeries, and 9 million cardiovascular surgeries every year, with about 1.7 million procedures associated with some risk of critical adhesion formation. Thus there is enough risk for adhesions from these procedures to encourage the use of adhesion prevention products in approximately 10% of the cases over the next decade. Among companies that have led the growth in adhesion prevention products are Johnson & Johnson/Ethicon with its Interceed brand, and Genzyme Biosurgery, which launched Seprafilm approximately five years after the J&J product. Interceed (made out of neutralized oxidized regenerated cellulose by the company’s Noramco chemical synthesis business) and Seprafilm both provide a bioresorbable protective layer between tissues susceptible to adhesion formation. Other contenders in this field include Omrix Biopharmaceuticals, which has developed an anti-adhesion product named Adhexil; an IND for Adhexil was filed in December 2006. Meanwhile, SyntheMed has developed the Repel-CV bioresorbable adhesion barrier; the company announced favorable results from a pivotal trial in neonatal patients in September 2006. When Angiotech acquired Cohesion Technologies, it inherited the Adhibit sprayable adhesion prevention product. In April 2006, the company announced data from a 71-patient human clinical study (conducted in the EU) designed to assess the safety and efficacy of Adhibit for preventing adhesions in patients undergoing a myomectomy procedure. The trial data indicated that the use of Adhibit reduced post-operative adhesion. Baxter Healthcare has been granted exclusive worldwide (excluding the United States) marketing and distribution rights to Adhibit. In July 2007, Protein Polymer Technologies (PPTI) announced it had entered into an agreement with an unnamed multinational biotechnology device company in which PPTI will provide genetically engineered protein polymer biomaterials for use in the prevention of post-surgical adhesions. PPTI believes its protein polymer materials can improve the outcome of abdominal and gynecological surgery by substantially reducing adhesions. PPTI is also in discussions with several U.S. and international biotechnology and medical device companies, which are evaluating PPTI’s surgical sealant and drug delivery product applications. These products are intended to aid in the closure of surgical incisions and tissue trauma reducing, for example, the incidence of post-operative bleeding and the local delivery of therapeutic agents.

Market Potential

The commercial importance of wound closure and adhesion prevention products is directly linked to clinical need, which is reflected in the numbers of procedures that can benefit from improved closure and adhesion-prevention technology. Approximately 10 million cardiovascular procedures in the United States have the potential to benefit from improved hemostasis, sealants and glue products. In an estimated 1.5 million procedures, these products can make a major contribution to the work of the surgeon in carrying out a safe procedure with minimal risk from blood transfusion and complications associated with loss of blood. Procedures that fall into this category include open heart bypass procedures with vein harvesting and many heart revascularization procedures, aortic valve replacements, mitral valve replacements, carotid endarterectomy, femoral distal bypass, and femoral popliteal bypass. Of more than 9 million musculoskeletal surgical operations worldwide, a large number (approximately 4 million) involve minimally invasive arthroscopy or are closed fractures in which hemostats, sealants and glues cannot be used. However, open trauma cases, knee reconstruction, total knee replacement, some hip reconstruction procedures, and all spine fusion procedures have the potential to benefit from improved appropriate use of hemostat, sealants and glues. Some of these procedures cause the patient to lose substantial quantities of blood. Effective use of sealants/hemostats can prevent loss of time during surgery, reduce the requirement for replacement blood products, and significantly improve rehabilitation due to reduced morbidity. Also there are 450,000 fusions and 432,000 discectomies performed in the United States each year. Particularly in the case of fusion, patients may require replacement of up to half the blood in their bodies. These procedures can take up to six hours to perform, and effective hemostasis can significantly improve cost effectiveness by saving surgical theater time and related costs, improving recovery and outcomes for the patient (e.g., reduced risk of infection) and reducing morbidity. There are approximately 2.5 million joint reconstruction procedures worldwide. Although minimally invasive procedures have reduced the burden of these procedures, reconstructive surgery is likely to increase with the growth of the aging population and with increased recreational activity. These procedures can benefit from improved use of closure and hemostatic products. Typically, tourniquets are used to prevent excessive bleeding during many of these procedures; it is assumed that lack of blood flow results in morbidity of tissue and delayed recovery as well as leading to increased complications, although the reduced need for blood transfusion is thought to outweigh these disadvantages. The introduction of effective sealants and hemostats offers the possibility of selectively reducing bleeding at sites of reconstruction without the concomitant effect of increased morbidity. It seems realistic to expect that a new category of procedure-enabling high-strength glue products will evolve and enable gluing of ligaments, tendon and bone in the orthopedic arena. Although there are a number of cement and bone graft substitute materials that have glue-like characteristics, none yet have the weight-loading potential or the torque-strength characteristics to meet the demand to fix bone fragments together without hardware support. Gynecological and urological procedures include transurethal prostate resections, bladder surgery, prostatectomy, hysterectomy and surgical resection of adhesions, as well as cesarean sections. Hemostasis and sealing in these procedures is critical to prevent complications that can result from excessive bleeding. Neurosurgery (4 million procedures annually in the United States) is highly vulnerable to the effects associated with healing: inflammation, angiogenesis, and generation of fibrous tissue—all attributes of normal tissue repair—cause problems for neural tissue. Effective hemostasis and sealing of blood can avoid these traumatic effects and are vital to reduce morbidity. Most traumatic wounds offer potential to be appropriately treated with hemostats, sealants and glues. Many lacerations can be adequately treated with high-strength glue products; this would avoid a secondary visit to a medical center for removal of sutures with associated costs. For example, conservative estimates of ER costs for closure of a small bleeding trauma laceration with sutures, (including local anesthetic, antibiotic cream and suture removal kit) are approximately $75 before labor and time are included. Further, in U.S. acute care hospitals, 5%–10% of patients develop hospital-acquired (nosocomial) infections, many of them in wounds. The cost per wound ranges from $3,000 to $27,000.

Revenue Implications

Fibrin-Based Sealants: The world market for fibrin-based sealants and similar products is estimated to be worth roughly $1.5 billion per annum, with annual growth rates in low double figures. Most fibrin and similar sealant products were first used for internal surgical hemostasis and sealant effects. This is now changing with the realization that appropriate hemostasis and gluing of surgical wounds results in reduced infection rates and better cosmesis. Growth rates in the synthetic and biological adhesives segment of the market will be relatively modest because these technologies have the most potential in niche opportunities, competing with established use of autologous and allogeneic fibrin products from major established players and a number of new device suppliers, as well as future recombinant human fibrin producers such as PPTI. Fibrin sealant usage worldwide is forecast to increase steadily during the coming years, driven by such factors as the requirement to use these materials in new procedures and an increasing caseload. One market in which these products are of special interest is Japan, where the loss of blood and avoidance of transfusion are extremely emotive issues. Growth rates here for autologous products and sealants not derived from blood may be delayed by long approval mechanisms, but will be rapid once these products appear on the Japanese market. In addition, this growth rate will be supported by the sales of new devices for the preparation of autologous fibrin sealants. High-Strength Glues: Cyanoacrylate products are the primary form of high-strength surgical glues approved for human clinical use in the worldwide market. A number of new materials are under development for internal use in particular, but these represent new chemical entities and their commercialization is likely to be delayed by regulatory requirements. Even though cyanoacrylate glues are not the ideal replacement for sutures, such a perfect replacement has yet to be fully developed, leaving room for cyanoacrylate glues to replace conventional sutures in many procedures over the next 10 years. To that end, cyanoacrylate glues are marketed actively by a number of companies for topical wound closure in accident/emergency situations and in surgical closure. The $500 million world market for high-strength surgical glues is growing vigorously and expected to more than double in value over the next five years, driven by increased incidence of surgery, greater adoption of cyanoacrylate and newer adhesive products for internal surgical applications, and the need for improved, fast-acting and easy-to-use products for use in minimally invasive procedures. Also, it is increasingly recognized that these products have a role to play in reducing infection and improving cosmesis of superficial surgical wounds, which will also drive the value of this market segment.

Adhesion Prevention

The market for products to prevent post-surgical adhesions is driven by the introduction of new technologies, by impressive data on product effectiveness, by increasing caseload and by growing acceptance of this type of product. World sales of products in this category are forecast to increase by solid double-digit annual growth rates from a value around $700 million to something approaching $1.5 billion in five years’ time.

Links: Advanced Medical Solutions (Winsford, U.K.; Aesculap (Center Valley, PA; Angiotech (Vancouver, Canada; B. Braun (Melsungen, Germany; Baxter Healthcare (Deerfield, IL; Chemence (Corby, U.K.; Closure Medical (Raleigh, NC; Covidien (Norwalk CT; CSL Behring (King of Prussia, PA; Daiichi Sankyo (Montvale, NJ; Ethicon (Somerville, NJ; GEM (See Synovis Life Technologies) Genzyme Biosurgery (Cambridge, MA; GluStitch (Delta, Canada; Harvest Technologies (Plymouth, MA; Interpore Cross Medical (Irvine, CA; Johnson and Johnson (Somerville, NJ; Kaketsuken (Kumamoto, Japan; MedLogic Global (See Advanced Medical Solutions) Nissui Pharmaceutical (Tokyo, Japan; Omrix Biopharmaceuticals (Kiryat Ono, Israel; Pharming Group (Leiden, The Netherlands; Plasmaseal (San Francisco, CA; Protein Polymer Technologies (San Diego, CA; Synovis Life Technologies (St. Paul, MN; SyntheMed (Iselin, NJ; SysCore (E-mail: ThermoGenesis (Rancho Cordova, CA; U.S. Surgical (Norwalk, CT;  

The complete report on Surgical Sealants, Glues & Wound Closure is described in detail here.   This report may be purchased in its entirety online or via Google Checkout, below.