The French medical technology industry in the vanguard
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.