“Asalus worked closely with academics at Cardiff University and laparoscopic surgeons from University Hospital Wales throughout the development process.”

An innovative new product for removing smoke created in minimally invasive surgery has won this year’s Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Award for the best New Venture. UltravisionTM clears the operative visual field of surgical smoke rapidly, effectively and silently whilst simultaneously preventing its release into the operating theatre.

The product is the first to be launched by Asalus Medical Instruments, the spin-out company established to commercialise the inventions of the Welsh Institute for Minimal Access Therapy (WIMAT). WIMAT is a leading provider of minimal access surgery training in the UK and is based at the Cardiff Medicentre, on the University Hospital Wales campus.

Earlier this year, UltravisionTM was awarded the Royal College of Surgeons Cutlers’ Surgical Prize at a special dinner at the Cutler’s Hall in London.

The product was conceived by Dr Neil Warren, Asalus’ Chief Technology Officer and Director of WIMAT. It is based around the proven technology of ‘electrostatic precipitation’, which is already widely used in industrial applications for the removal of airborne particles from waste gases. Asalus worked closely with academics at Cardiff University and laparoscopic surgeons from University Hospital Wales throughout the development process.

Dr Neil Warren (left) and Dr Dominic Griffiths (right)

Dr Warren said:

“Surgical smoke is a significant issue during laparoscopic surgery. Smoke rapidly builds up in the abdominal cavity, severely impairing the quality of the visual field and slowing down the procedure. The subsequent release of surgical smoke into the operating theatre is also unpleasant for the surgical team and there is a potential risk that chronic exposure may have long-term health implications.

“From research and feedback we know that the current solutions used in surgery for clearing surgical smoke are largely ineffective in meeting the needs of the surgical team. UltravisionTM silently, effortlessly and unobtrusively clears the visual field of surgical smoke and prevents its release in to the operating theatre to allow best practice in laparoscopic surgery.”

Dominic Griffiths, Managing Director of Asalus, said:

“We are honoured that UltravisionTM has won the New Ventures Award at a time when we’re bringing UltravisionTM to market. The overwhelming interest we are receiving from the surgical community and global distributors makes it all worthwhile.

“There are around six million laparoscopic procedures performed each year globally. Smoke is an issue in the vast majority of these procedures and so we are confident that we have developed a totally unique product in a huge market.”

UltravisionTM has recently been awarded the CE mark, allowing hospitals to use the system on patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery in the European Union member states. The product is already being used at University Hospital Wales and Asalus is in the process of appointing a comprehensive network of European distributors.

Asalus will be undertaking further R&D in collaboration with WIMAT to explore other applications for the technology and other avenues for potential product integration.

UltravisionTM was developed via funding received from Cardiff University’s Cardiff Partnership Fund (for early proof of concept work) Fusion IPFinance Wales, and IP Group.

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