Archive Orthopedic Surgery 2018

A Dozen Hot Orthopedic Products

A look at some of the attention-grabbers at this year's American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons exhibit hall.

Christopher Bensen

Christopher Bensen, MD


The exhibits at this year's American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons conference in New Orleans took up enough space to fill more than a couple of football fields, and the convention center was teeming with activity. Suffice to say, it took a big block of time and some serious scrambling to make a complete pass through every aisle and every exhibit. Here are just some of the innovations and inspirations that caught my attention during an intensive and informative 2-day blitz. OSM


Hall MicroFree Cordless Small Bone Power System

ConMed's Hall MicroFree cordless small bone power system provides the freedom of a cordless device, yet delivers the RPMs surgeons need. We surgeons have only recently become untethered from the cords we've dragged around for years (and sometimes through the sterile field), and this new system ratchets the convenience factor up a notch.

It's light and well balanced and has a pencil-grip design that fits easily in the palm of your hand. But it also packs plenty of power, with both medium-speed (25,000 RPMs) and high-speed (80,000 RPMs) drill systems. A rep says MicroFree uses the same technology that NASCAR drivers use to accelerate out of curves. It has a 3-volt battery with a voltage booster, so it goes from 3 volts to 10 volts in a snap, to provide increased torque when needed.

Another advantage is that the system is completely autoclavable, including the battery, which is wrapped in Insulfrax, a thermal material that can withstand heat up to 2,000°F.

It comes with a full complement of cutting accessories and the handpiece lists for about $6,000. But, says the rep, the increased speed and efficiency with which it can be reprocessed might let a facility get away with stocking 3 or 4 systems, instead of 6 or 7.


De Soutter


The Osteodrive, intended for small-bone extremity cases in the surgery center market, is designed to be so "excruciatingly simple" that you can't mess it up, says a rep. That may be true.

It's an elegant and intuitive system, with a burr, a saw and a drill that are all contained in the same box and all formatted to use with the same handpiece. The "smart" attachments snap on and snap off, and they're magnetically controlled, so the handpiece tells the box which attachment is plugged in.

It turns on with the push of a single button, and you can control the power either by hand or with a foot pedal. The progressive trigger lets you start out slowly and increase the speed gradually as you squeeze more tightly.

The handpiece seems very ergonomic and the blades are small enough to get into very tight places. Overall, says the rep, it's both quieter and cooler than previous models, with increased power, increased functionality, increased torque and greater capability. Another convenient feature: It's completely autoclavable.


Game Ready


I'm a great believer in this cold and active compression device, in part because I've had some personal experience with it. My wife had an ACL repair not long ago, and she loved how much GRPRO helped her recovery. Patients can take portable GRPRO home with them after total joint procedures, rotator cuff repairs or just about any other orthopedic case. There are wraps sized for every body part, from head to toe.

GRPRO delivers continuous cold and intermittent pneumatic compression therapies. Just fill it with ice and water and then customize the treatment by setting the time, the temperature (34° to 50°F) and the level of compression (high, medium or low). It can also be preprogrammed. The ice helps alleviate pain, and the squeeze and release action stimulates recovery by letting oxygen and blood flow back into the affected area. It's also been shown to increase flexion, extension and mobility. And maybe even more importantly, the company says 5 published papers show it decreases opioid use.




Invuity's PhotonBlade electrocautery device combines thermally cool, high-quality illumination that's sure to be helpful in deeper wounds, with enhanced energy to provide precise cutting and coagulation of tissue with minimal effect on adjacent tissue. I really like the fact that it doesn't require a proprietary generator. The PhotonBlade has been designed with a monopolar connector that is cleared for use with any 510(k)-cleared electrosurgical generator.


Midwest Medical


When it comes to preventing DVT, what could be easier for a patient than wrapping this device around his calf and pushing a button? The PlasmaFlow might be ideal for the less-compliant patient who's been told to get up and walk around from time to time to help keep blood flowing, but who's inclined to plant himself on the couch and watch TV all day instead. The battery can last up to 24 hours and can be recharged while the patient is moving around and wearing the device, which is a nice advantage. And as the rep points out, some patients may be coming from fairly remote areas with long car rides home. That's a scenario that can be very conducive to the formation of blood clots. It's classified as durable medical equipment, so the company consigns it to surgery centers and physicians, and bills payers. Medicare doesn't cover it, but most of its secondaries do, says the rep.

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