Medtronic Buys Gel Technology for Sinus Treatment


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Medical device maker Medtronic Inc. said Friday it purchased a gel technology that could be used to control bleeding and speed up healing in surgical procedures that treat sinus conditions.

Medtronic, whose Spinal and Biologics Business is based in Memphis, said the gel is a polymer produced from the chitin of shellfish and squid. Chitin is found in the exoskeletons of insects and some crustaceans. In humans, it is used to aid the healing of wounds and as a biodegradable surgical thread. The technology was developed by Robinson Squidgel Ltd., the University of Adelaide in Australia, and the University of Otago in New Zealand.

Medtronic, which is the world's largest medical device company, did not disclose terms of the deal.

The company believes the gel technology could be used in functional endoscopic sinus surgery, a type of procedure used to treat conditions including recurring acute or chronic infective sinus inflammation. Fiber optic scopes are used to diagnose and assist in the procedure, and computer models help identify diseased areas in the patient's sinuses. Medtronic said that around 525,000 procedures are performed in the U.S. each year, and the most common side effects are bleeding and adhesions, or scars that form at the surgical site.

The scars can block the sinuses, causing a recurrence and potentially making new surgeries necessary.

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