DN Staff

June 8, 1998

2 Min Read
Vein harvesting becomes less painful

Menlo Park, CA--In most heart-bypass operations, the saphenous vein from a patient's leg replaces blocked blood vessels in the heart. The separate surgical procedure, performed during the heart-bypass operation, involves removing the vein through a long incision. Following the surgery, patients frequently complain of ongoing leg pain, potentially leading to reduced mobility and delayed rehabilitation while the large incision heals.

A new generation of surgical instruments from Guidant Corp. not only makes the procedure less invasive, it helps speed the patient's return to normal activities. For the design of the Vaso View(TM) Balloon Dissection System, Guidant engineers called on medical-grade plastics from Bayer Corp.'s Polymers Div. (Pittsburgh).

The system uses endoscopic techniques to harvest the vein. This, in turn, requires smaller incisions. Potential benefits: less postoperative pain, fewer wound-healing complications, minimal scarring, and quicker recovery. (See also Design News, 1/6/97, p. 56.)

During the development stage, Guidant turned to Bayer for guidance on material selection. "The Bayer materials chosen provided us with several significant benefits," says John Ordway, purchasing manager for Guidant's Cardiac and Vascular Surgery Group. "From the medical side, the materials were biocompatible and Bayer had the data readily available to assist us in our filing with the FDA. Moreover, the materials resist chemicals and withstand gamma sterilization."

Two of Bayer's medical-grade resins went into multiple parts of the Vaso View System. The balloon system's cannula handle incorporates Lustran(reg) ABS 3482002 resin, while the balloon mount is made with Makrolon(reg) RX 2530-1118 polycarbonate. On the orbital dissection cannula, the endpiece embodies Makrolon resin, while the orbit handle, dissector handle, and swivel cap are made from Lustran.

The design assistance cut weeks off the design cycle. "We wanted to bring these surgical products to market quickly," Ordway adds. "This was important to us as a company, and could offer benefits to patients facing heart-bypass surgery."

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