High tech scalpel reduces blood loss - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

High tech scalpel reduces blood loss


A new bloodless scalpel uses magnetic energy to quickly heat and cool the instrument. And that gives surgeons more control and helps preserve more healthy tissue.

Neurosurgeon Joel MacDonald is using the revolutionary FerroMagnetic Wand on the first human patient. In this case, the patient is having spinal surgery. "These are areas where you need a lot of precision and a lot of dexterity to the instrument and you don't want a lot of heat spreading into untoward directions," said Dr. Joel MacDonald. Unlike current electro-surgical tools, the paper clip like tip on the end of the wand is coated with a special alloy that creates a magnetic field. The tool produces a pure heat that instantly turns on and off at the surgeon's command. In this demo on grocery chicken meat, no electricity passes through the body. The device cauterizes as it cuts, and prevents bleeding. That's what Dr. Kim Manwaring wanted when he first kicked around the idea. "I met Dr Manwaring in a garage where he showed me a ham radio with a small piece of wire and he showed me how he could heat that piece of wire and we talked together about the potential for that type of technology," said David McNally.

Now, with FDA approval, it's being used on the first human patients. What Dr. Manwaring envisioned has become reality. "The ideal combination is an incision that is a pure searing or sealing of the margin with no bleeding and yet right beneath that sear is perfectly viable, healthy tissue," said Dr Manwaring. The wand reduces time in surgery, lowers risks for patients, creates less scarring and faster healing. The wand easily cuts like a scalpel or with a change of the tip, scoops out tumors or unwanted tissue.

Surgeons say they're optimistic about the wand's versatility and potential for use in all kinds of situations.

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