Mellon Medical has developed a device that cuts suturing time in half. Their device is a great example of how re-thinking a problem can lead to revolutionary innovation.
From the Mellon website: “Classical suturing is a complex process and takes a long time to learn. Focus is on getting control over the needle. Surgeons using conventional suturing techniques perform several coordinated motions using both hands in order to place a single suture. The needle is positioned into the needle holder and passed through the tissue, where the needle is recovered by a forceps. The needle is then repositioned into the needle holder and the process is repeated with every suture. On average, 30% of the operation time is spent on suturing.”
Mellon’s device takes a completely different approach. It is a tweezer-like tool that uses a straight needle, pointed on both ends, with a suture attached. One end of the needle is gripped by the tip of one of the tweezer fingers. When the fingers are pinched together, the needle is released from the one finger and gripped by the other. This allows the needle and suture to be passed through tissue quickly, and requires only one hand to accomplish. Requirements for skill and dexterity are lessened, and the time required for suturing is greatly reduced.
I don’t know the details of how Mellon’s device was conceived, but I’m sure it could not have been done without looking beyond conventional suturing approaches. Deliberately shifting perspective is a powerful technique that enables creators to see things in novel ways and discover innovative solutions.