A Surgeon at Intermountain Medical Center Uses Tool for More Precise Cut

Jess Gomez or Jennifer Barrett

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MURRAY, UT — A surgeon at Intermountain Medical Center is using a revolutionary new instrument developed and produced in Utah to perform delicate surgery on Tuesday, December 13. It’s the first brain surgery performed with the tool in the Utah.
The instrument, called the FMwandTM Ferromagnetic Surgical System, allows the surgeon to make a precise cut and seal the incision simultaneously. The wand is more finely controlled and damages less tissue than commonly used electrosurgical devices.
"The FMwand minimizes the bleeding and damage that can be caused to adjoining tissue by instruments that use heat with less precision," says Joel MacDonald, MD, a neurosurgeon at Intermountain Medical Center and an associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Utah. Last week, Dr. MacDonald used the FDA-approved instrument on a patient for the first time anywhere.
“Traditional electrosurgical instruments cause an electrical current to pass through tissue, and that’s not safe when you’re working in the brain. The FMwand is safe and can be used with more precision,” says Dr. MacDonald. “I’m hopeful that using this tool will preserve more tissue and ultimately lead to faster healing.”
The wand was developed by Domain Surgical, Inc., a Salt Lake City-based medical device company. It was invented by Kim Manwaring, MD, a pediatric neurosurgeon who was looking for an instrument that would give him more control in the operating room. His search led to a special metal alloy that was originally used in aerospace applications. The alloy allows the wand tip to heat or cool instantly, at the surgeon’s command.  Domain worked with Dr. MacDonald during product development to evaluate the clinical benefits of the system.
The wand uses high frequency current and magnetic material in the tip to produce thermal energy at the point of contact. Existing electrosurgery tools create an electrical circuit that causes energy to pass through a patient’s body, which can lead to tissue damage beyond the incision.
The wand will be used at other leading hospitals across the country over the next several months.
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