Minimally invasive surgery is increasingly popular due to decreased hospital stay time and speed of surgery. A very common laparoscopic procedure is a Lap Chole which is removal of the gall bladder and, in the UK alone, there are over 60,000 procedures carried out per year, so the potential to repair the delicate scopes used in this procedure is very high. Rigid scopes are used in a variety of minimally invasive surgery, such as Gynaecology, Orthopaedic, Urology and ENT. In response to this demand, over two years ago, Surgical Holdings began carrying out basic repairs on rigid endoscopes in-house but initially were only able to replace rod lenses due to the limitation of their equipment.
Whilst they got off to a good start, the company were limited by the revenue on the repairs and the number they were able to carry out. Whilst they were able to replace rod lenses and gradually built up the number of repairs from 15 to 50 a month, they were having to send out the refibre process to a third party business at a significant cost.
In order to address this, scale up and carry out more sophisticated repairs in-house involving replacing the fibre optics in the rigid scope shaft, Surgical Holdings successfully applied for a KEEP+ capital grant to purchase an innovative laser welder. This laser welder had a controlled heat source and rotational axis which allowed them to laser weld the very thin stainless steel tubing. It also enabled them to ensure that when they carried out the repair they were following the correct specification for the product they were repairing. It was also very important to ensure the scope was sealed correction as they are steam sterilised.
The company launched their new service at the world’s biggest medical exhibition and, as a result, have increased their average monthly scope repairs by over 50%, increased their yearly turnover by £500,000 and have been able to employ new staff in their scope department.