New Technology Promises Safer Organ Transplants

Armen Hareyan's picture
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According to Millennium Research Group's US Markets for Surgical Navigation Systems 2008 report, the surgical navigation market was worth almost $200 million in 2007, and will grow rapidly over the next five years. This growth will be partly facilitated by soft tissue navigation, an emerging technology that allows surgeons to track their instruments inside organs such as the heart or liver using image guidance in the operating field.

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Soft tissue navigation systems are anticipated to revolutionize risky procedures such as vascular bypass surgery, valve replacement, arrhythmia treatment, tumor removal, and living donor organ transplants. These systems will boost the number of patients who can be treated with liver transplants in particular, increasing the survival rate of patients with diseases like hepatitis or cirrhosis. In comparison with standard organ transplant surgery, where patients can wait months or years for a matching donor, soft tissue navigation enables safer removal and transplantation of living donor organs, ensuring that the donor retains sufficient healthy tissue to regenerate their liver.

"Just as surgical navigation systems transformed risky neurosurgery procedures in the last decade, soft tissue navigation systems will be instrumental for improving clinical outcomes in difficult cardiovascular and abdominal surgery," says Sarah Leonard, Analyst at Millennium Research Group. "Pathfinder Therapeutics' SurgiSight Linasys recently gained clearance for all open liver procedures, and Novadaq Technologies' SPY was just approved for use in organ transplant surgery. Other companies focusing on cardiovascular disease are expecting to gain approval for surgical intervention over the next few months."

Initial adopters of soft tissue navigation will be large surgical centers, such as academic hospitals and high-volume heart and cancer centers. If these institutions successfully enhance patient safety and enable high-risk patients to receive potentially life-saving procedures by using soft tissue navigation systems, other surgical facilities will follow suit and adopt the technology.

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