Minimally Invasive Devices: An Overview

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The market for minimally invasive devices had an estimated value of $20 billion in 2018.

With minimally invasive surgery forecasted to grow at around 8% year-over-year through 2024, one thing is clear: the global demand for minimally invasive devices is going to increase.

As the minimally invasive device segment is one of the primary markets ATL supports, we’ve compiled this blog post to help you develop a better understanding of minimally invasive devices and how they’re shaping the healthcare landscape today.

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What are minimally invasive devices?

Before we start, it’s important to note that there is no checklist or set of rules that determine whether a device should be categorized as “minimally invasive.”

Instead, the term “minimally invasive” is typically applied to devices based on a comparison to other device options.

For example…

Imagine you’re having your rotator cuff surgically repaired.

20 years ago, the surgeon may have used a scalpel to make a nice, long incision around your shoulder in order to access the joint itself.

Though the surgery would’ve probably been effective for repairing your shoulder, there is one big health concern—besides being left with a large scar—that this surgical method presents: the risk of infection.

Even in a spotless, sterilized operating room, opening your shoulder up and exposing it to the elements carries a risk of infection that you may not be willing to tolerate.

Now, fast forward to today.

Thanks to the advent of minimally invasive devices, if you were to have your rotator cuff repaired tomorrow, there would be no need for a large incision that leaves your tissue exposed.

Instead, the surgeon would make one or more small incisions around your shoulder and use small devices paired with camera and/or imaging technology to make the repair.

These smaller incisions mean you not only have a smaller scar (or two), it also means your risk of infection drops significantly.

Given this information, we would define minimally invasive devices as devices that minimize the size and/or number of incisions needed to perform a surgery.

 


 

Minimally Invasive vs Invasive Medical Devices

“Invasive” surgery is not the opposite of “minimally invasive” surgery (that honor would go to the term “open” surgery—e.g., open heart surgery versus minimally invasive heart surgery).

Rather, “minimally invasive” is a sub-segment of the larger “invasive” medical device market.

"Invasive" is a term used to describe medical devices that enter the body.

Minimally invasive devices are simply invasive devices that enter the body using a minimal footprint.

The opposite of invasive devices would be non-invasive devices, which we cover next.

 


Minimally Invasive vs Non-Invasive Medical Devices

If the term “invasive” defines the devices used inside the body, the term “non-invasive” describes the segment of devices that don’t enter the body.

Devices like stethoscopes, blood pressure monitors, and your smart watch are examples of non-invasive medical devices.

As a minimally invasive device is still an invasive device, there is no such thing as a minimally non-invasive device—they are mutually exclusive categories.

 


The growing prevalence of energy-driven minimally invasive devices.

Electrical components like robotics, cameras, and sensors are being used to improve minimally invasive surgical outcomes around the globe.

At the heart of all devices that utilize these components is the interconnect solution that powers it.

As the energy-driven minimally invasive device market continues to expand, the drive to minimize the device footprint by making it “smarter” or multi-functional will put pressure on engineering teams to innovate.

Overcoming this challenge requires knowledge of device development, electro-mechanics, biology, and many other fields.

If you are developing an energy-driven minimally invasive device, we recommend working with an expert who has done it before.

 


Additional Resources.

Minimally invasive medical devices are being used to improve patient outcomes around the world.

Knowing the difference between minimally invasive devices and other types of medical devices can help you develop an understanding of the market as a whole.

To learn more about how ATL can help you with your next minimally invasive device project, click the button below.

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