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The French medical technology industry in the vanguard of innovation

 

According to the French Trade Commission, with several major innovations to its credit, the French medical technology industry can be proud of its dynamic international profile. Over 20% of the projects supported by the French national council for the promotion of research in industry (Osťo-ANVAR) concern breakthrough innovations, i.e. Global or European firsts. Its cutting-edge medical technology has now placed France in the forefront of quality healthcare.

 

Cardiovascular medicine entered a new era with the advent of drug-eluting medical devices (prostheses that also release a drug). The new generation of coronary stents is a typical example: these metal-mesh "tubes" don't only preserve arterial patency, they also release an active substance that prevents restenosis (recurrence of arterial lumen narrowing).

 

Parkinson's disease is now treated at deep-brain level using electric neurostimulation where electrodes implanted in the brain are connected via a subcutaneous wire to a small pulse generator inserted just below the clavicle.

 

Surgical robots coupled to 3D simulators allow surgeons to practise and refine the most complex surgical procedures. The main innovations involved in this system are an artificial wrist and a 3D camera. Sitting at the workstation, the surgeon uses a set of finger controls to manipulate the surgical instruments and perform "virtual" surgery. His motions are analysed and, after any hand tremor has been filtered out, translated to the robot's articulated arms in contact with the patient.

 

In the field of disabilities, industrial innovation is enhanced by medical partnerships. For instance, the technological innovation centre of the Garches hospital provides manufacturers with its clinical expertise and evaluation protocols to help them develop new technical solutions (stair-climbing wheelchair, puff-controlled alarm device...).

 

Interventional radiology has changed radiologists into therapists. In this broad field, their role ranges from nodule aspiration (biopsy, sampling) to the complex treatments of vascular or tumoral lesions in various organs. These imaging-guided procedures use minimally-invasive techniques and are usually performed under local anaesthesia.

 

Telemedicine is a new approach that improves diabetic retinopathy screening and optimizes cardiac-patient monitoring and follow-up.

 

Neonatology uses increasingly sophisticated and efficient equipment in varied fields, including heating and humidifying devices or nosocomial infection prevention technologies for incubators and paediatric transport.

 

http://www.ferret.com.au/articles/29/0c041c29.asp

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