Needle guides make clean trash

August 14, 1991

Ultrasound-guided biopsies are faster and cheaper when needleguidance systems can be disposed of after each procedure. Environmentalconcerns, however, cause many facilities to choose the more expensivesterilization option, according to Victor J. Wiedel,

Ultrasound-guided biopsies are faster and cheaper when needleguidance systems can be disposed of after each procedure. Environmentalconcerns, however, cause many facilities to choose the more expensivesterilization option, according to Victor J. Wiedel, presidentof Civco Medical Instruments.

Civco of Kalona, IA, is developing a biodegradable ultrasoundneedle guidance system called Maggi 2+ that should reduce thecost of biopsy procedures by making disposal environmentally sound,Wiedel said.

Sterilization of nondisposable needle guidance systems cancost up to $15 a shot when downtime is figured into the equation,he said.

"We see the disposable system as a more cost-efficientmethod for (handling) patients when they undergo a medical procedure,"Wiedel said.

The use of imaging accessories such as probe covers and needleguides is growing in tandem with greater use of computed tomography,magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound procedures. This hasincreased the amount of medical plastic that ends up in landfills,he said.

"It's our concern to do what we can to reduce the materialgoing into landfill or the ocean. Once it is available, the biodegradablebiopsy guide will be the only way to go for environmentally consciouspeople today," Wiedel said.

The Maggi 2+ relies on a bioplastic material trademarked asBio/Plast, a polymer created through Civco's collaboration withoutside research institutions and companies.

The system has aroused interest from Civco's OEM customers,Wiedel said.

The firm expects to sell its biodegradable guidance systemthrough the ultrasound accessory management program that Civcooffers imaging OEMs (SCAN 4/26/89). Vendors will endorse the product,while Civco will sell it directly to hospitals and clinics.

OEMs will be provided with starter kits they can sell to scannercustomers. The ultrasound users will then be instructed to buyrefills for the disposable products from Civco, Wiedel said.

"The OEM companies want to sell big items, such as ultrasoundscanners. It's very difficult for them to make money on peripheralitems because it costs them too much to sell those," he said.