Project Lead(s): Stanley Wong
Injuries affect more than 50 million people worldwide each year, with the highest mortality rates in developing countries. Often, surgery is the only appropriate treatment.
Injuries often cause large, deep wounds and incisions that are difficult to close and many doctors in developing countries are not equipped with the necessary surgical equipment to treat these wounds.
The current method for wound closure uses secondary thick sutures to first pull the wound edges in close proximity and then smaller sutures to close the wound. This can create additional wound sites, leading to secondary complications and infections.
The project involved utilizing an existing wound closure prototype developed in Canada for the local low-resource rural environment in Palawan, Philippines.
The initial innovation involved a simple, plastic device and gauze used in a clamp-like fashion to facilitate incision closure, while eliminating secondary wound(s).
However, it was found that the rigid device was too limiting and did not properly conform to the curves at the wound edges.
A clinical trial was designed to assess the effectiveness of a revised device to close deep wound openings that were too wide for stitches.
A team of scientists, engineers and surgeons from Canada, working alongside doctors from rural Palawan in the Philippines, worked on the project.
The project was successful in significantly improving the initial working prototype.
The project team refined the initial material with improved anti-microbial properties, and redesigned the wound closure device so that it could be more easily cleaned and was therefore reusable.
The device was made using a bio-compatible elastomeric material that greatly improved its comfort and functionality.
Improvements in the new wound closure device made it better-suited to the local Philippines environment and meant it could be adopted by other low-resource settings around the world.
Time constraints meant it was not possible to conduct the clinical trial and test the prototype in the field.
The project team has applied for a U.S. patent for the wound closure device.
The team will attempt to source Filipino manufacturers and distributors in the medical device field to develop their prototype. The alternative will be to get the device manufactured in China or Taiwan, where a large and well-developed manufacturing base is present, in close proximity to the Philippines.