Locating the epidural space that surrounds the spinal cord requires extensive physician training and relies heavily on feel. Drugs (“epidurals”) injected into this very narrow space (only 4 millimeters wide) are used for anesthesia and analgesic purposes both during and after surgery.
Inaccurate needle placement occurs in up to 30% of cases, resulting in ineffective drug delivery, multiple insertions, and post-complications such as severe headaches or nerve damage.
Omeq Medical is developing a single-use, smart epidural needle for safe, accurate epidural injections. Attached to a standard epidural needle, a special blunted probe repeatedly monitors the dynamic forces exerted by the surrounding tissues and accurately detects needle penetration into the epidural space. Once successful positioning is confirmed with a visual signal, the device’s safety mechanism protects the patient from inadvertent puncture of the spine.
In the United States, over 20 million epidural injections are administered annually, with an additional 19 million injections in the rest of the world. Industry leaders control this $1 billion global market with standard epidural kits.
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