An independent clinical study conducted by US Army combat support surgeons in Baghdad report that a medical device used to close a type of surgical wound more quickly is saving lives and limbs of soldiers and civilians.

A team of battle zone surgeons led by Maj. Niten Singh, MD, working in the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom, used Canica® Inc.’s ABRA® Surgical Skin Closure System to successfully implement a surgical regimen called dynamic wound closure (DWC). The procedure applies gentle but continuing tension uniformly across a wound for a period of a few days to gradually, but completely close it. Skin grafting is eliminated.

A surgeon sometimes must make a long incision to perform a fasciotomy—usually on a badly injured arm or leg—to relieve dangerous swelling and pressure due to fluid buildup. Fasciotomies must often be performed quickly following trauma and can mean the difference between loss of life or limb, but result in long, gaping wounds which can be difficult to close.

"Because of the swelling that occurs with the muscles, these wounds cannot typically be closed with sutures," says Singh, who is based at Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash. "Traditionally, surgeons have left these wounds open and covered them with skin grafts. This results in an additional wound from harvesting the graft; potential failure of the skin graft and unsightly scars."

"Using Canica’s system, we were able to close fasciotomies in an average 2.6 days—several times faster than other techniques," Singh continues. "Canica’s system is designed for early placement and our findings indicate early placement is key to success, allowing skin approximation to occur faster. Overall, we do believe this is a superior technique."

According to Singh, dynamic wound closure can be used on many types of wounds, not just fasciotomies. In addition to closing extremity wounds, Canica makes dynamic wound closure systems for a wide range of wounds—from skin lacerations to large abdominal eviscerations. Its dynamic technology is also used in devices that protect wounds from re-opening, and those used for babies born with cleft lip, gradually pulling the cleft lip segments together in preparation for reconstructive surgery.

[Canica Design, May 12, 2008]