The continued growth of minimally invasive surgery has transformed the healthcare field, but there remain certain gaps in the development of tools for laparoscopic procedures. In clearing the surgical site, minimally invasive surgeons have been limited to single lumen, dual suction.
The eponymous, flagship offering of the Columbus, Ohio medical device manufacturer Vampiro addresses that shortcoming.
The Vampiro is a dual lumen minimally invasive poole suction sleeve. An accessory to the conventional spot suction sleeves, the Vampiro increases the number of apertures, creating a fluid column that is unobstructed by organs, tissue, and debris. The manufacturer estimates the instrument can be employed in 30-40 percent of all minimally invasive procedures.
To learn more, Surgical Products interviewed Abbey Santanello, COO of Vampiro.
What can you tell us about the Vampiro?
The Vampiro is a minimally invasive poole suction sleeve. It creates the first and the only dual lumen poole suction when coupled with a 5 mm spot suction catheter. Many of the other instruments on the market may claim they provide poole suction and allow for unobstructed removal of large volumes of fluid during laparoscopic procedures, however there’s no true dual lumen pool suction sleeve that exists, similar to what exists in traditional or open surgery procedures.
In traditional surgery, there’s both a spot suction and a poole suction instrument. The spot is for precision suctioning, and the poole is for unobstructed removal of moderate to large volumes of fluid. And then for laparoscopic surgery, truly there’s only one type of suction instrument available, and that’s for spot suction. So there was an obvious need we wanted to address.
How did you develop the product?
The Vampiro was my father’s idea. He was performing surgery on a ruptured appendix and became frustrated using the spot suction catheter attempting to wash out the abdomen with a large volume of irrigation. The spot suction catheter was frequently obstructed by bowel and surrounding tissue. The idea hit him that a dual lumen poole suction catheter, like the one used for decades in open surgery, would resolve the issue, allowing for unobstructed large volume removal in laparoscopic surgery. So he started prototyping down in our basement, trying to come up with rough ideas of what this could look like, the materials it could be made out of, so on and so forth.
Concurrently, I had graduated from the University of Notre Dame and decided to stay and get my Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. I brought that product concept in as my thesis and capstone project. As part of the process, I interviewed over 100 surgeons to get their input on the need, the functionality, the design, and how to make the device intuitive and ergonomic. All the clinical input was highly valuable to the design and the development of the instrument.
What the current status of the Vampiro?
The product is a Class II exempt product, therefore we don’t require premarket approval or the 510(k) filing. This has has been key to expediting our journey. We registered with the FDA, completed all of the paperwork, documentation, and have met all of the standards and criteria necessary. We are in over 20 hospitals right now.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from surgeons thus far?
Now that the Vampiro is in use, surgeons have had a great experience with it. We have received particularly great feedback from bariatric surgeons, who are using it to remove fluid after leak testing their anastomoses. Bariatric surgeons are benefited by their ability to evacuate contaminated fluid and irrigant with an abdominal wash-out for their infected cases. General surgeons see benefits in their ability to thoroughly evacuate contaminated fluid and irritant in the pelvis and gutters without frequent obstruction of the spot suction.
How does the Vampiro help with efficiency in the OR?
We’re still working on getting specific numbers, but we have a strong belief that it enhances efficiency. It can reduce operating room time, and we know the cost of operating room time to be around $60 to $80 per minute, depending when and where. With the competitive price of our instrument, you’re already saving money if you’re saving time, even 1-2 minutes of OR time.
Because this instrument allows for more effective removal of moderate to large volumes of fluid, doctors are more likely to irrigate more in the aggregate, and there is literature out there that supports that theory that increased amount of irrigating reduces the risk of surgical site infections. We have reason to believe physicians are irrigating more, because now it’s easier to remove that irrigant. So that lessen the chance of surgical site infection. None of this is proven with clinical data yet, but we do believe it’s part of the value Vampiro brings.
Anything else you’d like to add?
The name is unique — Vampiro is Italian for vampire. Vampires suck blood, and our instrument is about sucking blood and fluids. From a marketing standpoint, we know people will remember the name. When they like it or dislike it, they won’t forget it.