Written by Jerred Ziegler.
The term “minimally invasive surgery” refers to a category of surgery methods that avoid the large incisions required in traditional surgery. Nearly three million are performed each year in the United States, and many of those rely on the use of a laparoscope, a long, metal tube with a camera inside. This enables surgeons to see deep inside the body, but it is not without problems—lens fogging and blockage from blood and tissues are common.
“I’ve been a laparoscopic surgeon for 22 years,” said Dr. Wayne Poll, founder and CEO of Minimally Invasive Devices (MID). “Loss of vision during surgery has always been a problem. You have to constantly remove the laparoscope from the body, clean it and defog it. It makes parts of the surgical process very inefficient.”
Dr. Poll’s goal with MID was to create a laparoscope that wouldn’t get dirty in the first place. The company created FloShield, a sheath attached to the outside of a laparoscope that directs carbon dioxide gas to its tip, creating a vortex barrier that actively defogs the lens and protects it from blood and tissue during surgery.
“Many of our competitors have tried to create similar devices, but all still require you to take the laparoscope out of the body to clean and defog it,” said Dr. Poll. “We have a technology that allows you to get most of the way through surgery before anything gets on the lens. This significantly decreases loss of vision and surgical interruptions.”
FloShield has been proven to decrease loss of vision and scope removal substantially during surgery. The technology is currently used in 9 countries worldwide and, on average, 1,200 surgeries each month. The company continues to develop new versions of the product, such as a FloShield for robotic surgery, in the hope that the technology will become the standard of care.
“Our goal is that in the future doctors will say, ‘I can’t believe I used to constantly take out the scope to clean it,’” Dr. Poll said.
Dr. Poll has worked closely with Rev1 Ventures, a central Ohio regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier, since the early stages of MID’s development. He had never started a company, and relied on the Rev1 team to help him organize his ideas, secure funding, assemble a good team and find work space.
“I don’t think we would have made it to where we are today without the support of Rev1 and the state of Ohio,” said Dr. Poll. “We’ve been able to create 35 jobs here in Ohio because of the structures put together by the state. Entrepreneurs have a very steep hill to climb when starting a business, but the folks at Rev1 and the state of Ohio make those hills a lot less steep.”