The product is named the Zimmer BRIGIT Bone Resection Instrument Guide; "BRIGIT" is an acronym for "Bone Resection Instrument Guidance by Intelligent Telemanipulator". During a surgical procedure, this voice-activated device provides the surgeon with the ability to accurately position instruments based upon patient-specific, pre-operative plans established through a software interface. The surgeon then makes surgical cuts at precise angles required for the patient's specific anatomy and the telemanipulator arm assists the surgeons in maintaining the desired position.
"Zimmer is dedicated to assisting surgeons in improving the accuracy and reproducibility of the steps involved in joint replacement procedures and the BRIGIT system is a major technological step forward in this effort", stated Ray Elliott, Zimmer Holdings Chairman, President and CEO. "Unlike some competitive strategies, we are focusing on making the surgeon more efficient and not on replacing the surgeon. The BRIGIT system is not a surgical robot but an intelligent tool that provides feedback and guidance to the surgeon throughout the procedure."
Use of the BRIGIT system has the potential to reduce the number of instruments needed in a procedure and is designed to speed the transition between steps in a surgical procedure. It also has the potential to benefit hospitals by reducing procedure times through minimizing the number of instruments used, which can also reduce requirements for cleaning and sterilization of instruments.
Zimmer has submitted an application for 510(k) clearance of the BRIGIT system for use in total knee arthroplasty. The company says it believes the product also may be applied in the future to hip, extremity and spinal surgery as well as other procedures that require a high level of accuracy. Financial details regarding acquisition of the intellectual property from the France-based company, MedTech S.A., were not disclosed.
Founded in 1927 and headquartered in Warsaw, Indiana, Zimmer is the worldwide number 1 pure-play orthopaedic specialist in designing, developing, manufacturing and marketing reconstructive and spinal implants, trauma and related orthopaedic surgical products. Zimmer has operations in more than 24 countries around the world and sells products in more than 100 countries. Zimmer's 2005 sales were approximately $3,3 billion. The company is supported by the efforts of more than 6700 employees worldwide. More news is available in the VMW January 2006 article Zimmer Holdings announces milestones in minimally invasive joint replacement.