by Lauren Dubinsky
, Senior Reporter | March 18, 2014
From the March 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
He thinks that it’s a step beyond traditional operative laparoscopy and roboticassisted laparoscopy in the advancement of minimally invasive surgery.
Even more innovation
Stents and catheters, which are inserted= using endoscopes, are also bringing down costs and improving outcomes.
When patients show up to a hospital with acute colonic obstruction, they can either undergo a colostomy or a stent can be inserted to decompress the colon and then they undergo a single surgery. Two decades ago, urgent surgery was the first choice for treatment, but it was associated with high mortality rates because the patients were usually in poor condition due to the disease, dehydration and other factors.
“The patient impact and the cost of that type of technology is dramatically improved with stent alternatives,” says Boston Scientific’s Pierce.
A Boston Scientific study conducted in late 2010 compared the hospital costs and clinical outcomes between patients undergoing colostomy and those undergoing stenting for the management of malignant colonic obstruction. It found the stent placement is less costly and involves fewer complications.
Boston Scientific manufactured a stent called the WallFlex Colonic Stent that assists with those procedures. The stent is used as a “bridge to surgery” by decompressing the colon before the actual surgery is performed.
Additionally, what Pierce calls the “poster child for this trend” is a catheter-based product that treats patients with severe asthma. Even though some patients with severe asthma have access to all of the medications on the market today, their asthma is not well-controlled. “They end up being hospitalized for several days with quite a big expense to the individual and quite a scary experience,” says Pierce.
Boston Scientific purchased the company, Asthmatix, a few years ago, and along with it came a catheter called Alair that uses bronchial thermoplasty technology to treat these patients. Over the course of three treatments, Alair applies radiofrequency energy to the lungs.
In September, Boston Scientific published five year data, which showed “excellent and sustainable” results for the patients who underwent the treatment. It is currently being used at 300 centers in the U.S.
Experts say that this trend is here to stay and that endoscopic devices will continue to provide cost effective and efficient treatment.
“I think the key is that what we’re trying to do here in the U.S., and really all over