16th March 2020
Over a million operative incisions are closed each day with sutures or staples, and unfortunately both have clinical and financial drawbacks. This is the problem that Trinity College Dublin spin-out, Starling Surgical, is trying to tackle. Their device, QuickStitch, promises to be more cost-effective, faster and yield superior clinical results.
As a surgeon, CEO of Starling Surgical, Dr Cyrus Doctor, has closed hundreds of wounds such as hip replacement incisions using either sutures or staples. Sutures are the gold standard generally but are slow and this has a financial cost as well as a cost to the patient (increase morbidity and mortality as increased general anaesthetic time leads to increased complications).
His idea was to develop a device similar to a skin stapler but that Insert a stitch instead of a staple. Combining the ease-of-use and time-saving benefits of skin staples with the Superior clinical results of meticulous hand tied switches. And so, the QuickStitch was born which has shown to provide superior results to sutures at a faster speed than skin staples.
The project has received €300,050 of funding from EIT Health, a sum that has been vital to the development of the QuickStitch, according to Dr Doctor.
“The support we have received from EIT has been beyond what we could imagine. The extra funding has given our project the lifeline it needed to go from a good university project to a great medical device that has won multiple awards and will go on to be a successful spin out company.
“While at first it certainly seems like the funding would be the most significant benefits I feel the partnerships and introductions afforded to us through EIT and the EIT Health partners has actually been of the highest benefits to us.”
With the QuickStitch project, Trinity College Dublin has been recognized for successfully executing a very ambitious timeline. At the AdvaMed conference in Boston September 2019 (the largest USA-based medical device conferences) we were awarded the AdvaMed Execution Award for achieving so much in such a short amount of time with minimal resources.
More achievements from the team include:
- Developing a successful business plan and Multinational go to market strategy,
- Building a working prototype
- Completing successful animal trials showing improve data over other inclusion methods.
- Completing successful usability studies with multiple surgeons.
- Generating interest from Global distributors
The Quickstitch has also received great support from those who would be wielding it. Dr Anya Saso, a paediatrician at Imperial College London, said of the device; “In paediatrics you have to close wounds fast but staples are considered cruel. This is the device we have been waiting for”, and orthopaedic Surgeon Dr D’jon Lopez said; “with changes in guidelines possibly on the horizon for stapler use this will be the perfect way to close hip replacement wounds”.
One of the great healthcare challenges today is reduction of hospital-acquired infections and Starling Surgical think the QuickStick can help to tackle this and have an positive impact on post-operative skin infections.