MedicalExpo e-Magazine - #22 – FIME 2016 Special IssueMedicalExpo e-Magazine





The Smart Magazine About Medical Technology Innovations

FIME 2016: A Taste of the Americas

It describes itself as the “largest medical trade fair on the biggest medical device marketplace,” serving North, Central and South America. For its 26th year, the FIME exhibition was held August 2-4 at the Miami Convention Center in Florida, attracting about 1,500 exhibitors from 38 countries and 20,000 attendees.

MedicalExpo e-magazine is publishing a special issue on the event for the occasion. You’ll have a taste of some of the most innovative devices showcased at FIME. You’ll also learn about the Latin American market, why the city of Miami is a hotbed for medical innovations, and about the biggest social network for U.S. physicians: Doximity.

Hot Topics
Having home-country approval can provide leverage in getting approval in the new markets
The Latin American market, an important topic at FIME (Courtesy of Seterra)


A keynote speaker at FIME, Richard Vincins is vice president of quality and regulatory affairs at Emergo. The Texas-based consulting firm assists and advises medical device companies from the quality system implementation perspective to the regulatory requirements such as submissions and registrations. Vincins shared...

Innovation Focus
Miami is a hotbed for innovation, particularly when it comes to technologies and surgeries that improve patients' quality of life
The southern coastal city is a hotbed for medical innovations (Shutterstock)


Miami has hosted FIME for many years. It may be far from the big-name hospitals and medical schools of New York, Boston and Washington, but the southern coastal city is still a hotbed for innovation, particularly when it comes to technologies and surgeries that improve patients’ quality of life.


One of Florida’s leading urologists, Dr. George Suarez, worked for years to bring a prostate cancer treatment known as high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to the United States. It works by using sound waves to heat and destroy tissue at a precise focal point, at temperatures of up to 90 degrees Celsius.

Suarez likens the procedure to using a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays and burn a leaf. For patients with localized prostate cancer, the procedure can be done on an outpatient basis without any surgery, cutting, suturing or radiation. Suarez, who is medical director of the Prostate Cancer Institute of Miami, explained to us:

There is no pain. There is no bleeding. It is completely non-invasive.

Although this technology was first researched in the United States in the 1950s, nothing became of it for decades. HIFU gained approval in Europe in 1995. “I realized the importance of this technology. And I had the foresight to say, how do I get my hands on it and how do I make this happen?”

Suarez was the medical director of the clinical trials in the United States for HIFU. It was initially rejected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but HIFU for prostate tissue ablation eventually gained FDA approval in 2015, when the U.S. federal agency approved the Sonablate 450, developed by SonaCare Medical.

Dr. George Suarez, urologist (Courtesy of International HIFU Centers)

Dr. George Suarez, urologist (Courtesy of International HIFU Centers)

Suarez said the procedure’s risk of impotence and incontinence are far lower than the standard therapies of radical prostatectomy or radiation. HIFU can be repeated, and studies have also shown that HIFU does not risk spreading the cancer, unlike procedures such as uterine morcellation, he added.

Suarez has performed well over 2,000 HIFU surgeries—more than any single doctor in the world—and often travels internationally to train physicians in the procedure. “Living in south Florida, I should be fishing or boating or doing something else,” joked Suarez, 60. “I often tell people, ‘If you see me at a golf course, come and get me because I am lost.’”

Improving Gallbladder Surgery

Dr. Tushar Barot, a general surgery resident at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami, saw a problem with gallbladder removal—namely a high complication rate due to bile duct injury. This potentially dangerous or even fatal mistake can happen when the bile duct gets cut or pinched during surgery, leading bile to leak into abdomen or blocking its regular flow. It often happens when the operating doctor cannot see clearly the area around the gallbladder and bile ducts.

Barot’s research showed that Mount Sinai’s complication rate for laparoscopic cholecystectomies was 5.7% —which he felt was too high. Some 750,000 of these operations take place annually in the United States. “So we implemented a six-step protocol in our hospital to see if we could do something to reduce this complication and essentially create a culture of safety where we could make this procedure safer for everybody,” Barot said.

Dr. Tushar Barot presenting his research (Courtesy of Mount Sinai Medical Center)

Dr. Tushar Barot presenting his research (Courtesy of Mount Sinai Medical Center)

The first step involved clearing fat and fibrous tissue from an area known as the hepatocystic triangle, then separating the lower one-third of the gallbladder from the liver. “Two and only two structures should be seen entering the gallbladder,” he explained.

Then, surgeons allow for an intra-operative timeout, followed by extra attention to any aberrant anatomy. The fourth step of the protocol allows for “liberal use of intro imaging” followed by identifying the danger zone. Barot’s final step: Get help from another surgeon. A total of 173 patients were enrolled in the nine-month study from 2014 to 2015 to see if these steps could reduce complications. They did. According to Barot:

We dropped our complications from 5.7 percent to 0 percent using that protocol.

Larger, long-term follow-up studies are needed, he added. Eventually, Barot hopes that others will take advantage of the six-step protocol in their hospitals.  

New Generation Disc Replacement

Another innovation that was dreamed up in Florida is a lumbar disc replacement known as ActivL. It is the first FDA-approved spine surgery technology in a decade. For patients with lumbar degenerative disc disease or lumbar disc herniations, it offers an alternative to spinal fusion surgery, which involves fusing vertebral bones together and can lead to more stiffness and pain.

The technology was co-developed by Dr. Rolando Garcia, who was the first surgeon in Florida to perform a spinal disc replacement back in May of 2000 and was the co-lead investigator of the FDA trial for ActivL.

The ActivL artificial disc (Courtesy of R. Garcia)

The ActivL artificial disc (Courtesy of R. Garcia)

ActivL has chromium endplates with spikes that affix to the patient’s vertebrae and an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene core that enables natural forward and backward movement of the lumbar spine. Garcia, an orthopedic surgeon with Orthopedic Care Centers in Aventura, Florida explained:

One of the greatest advantages is that ActivL recreates the motion of a normal spine by allowing the plastic inside of it to move and mimic the motion of the human spine.

“It also offers advantages in terms of its shape which allows the surgeon to better fit the implant to the patient,” he added. Since ActivL was FDA-approved in June of 2015, he estimates he has performed about 100 surgeries using the disc replacement.

Smart People
Today, we are used by over 60 percent of all doctors in the United States
The most popular network for physicians in the United States (Courtesy of Doximity)


FIME is a good occasion to talk about how American physicians communicate with one another. Over half a million U.S. healthcare professionals are members of the social network Doximity. Launched in March of 2011, it became the most popular network for physicians in the United States in just five years. Its co-founder,...

The app helps locate the nearest OrthoNOW center (Courtesy of OrthoNOW)

OrthoNOW, an orthopedic urgent care center created by a group of orthopedic surgeons in South Florida, presented at FIME its brand new app called “On My Way...

The CABO Safety Scalpel Cartridge (Courtesy of Southmedic)

The CABO safety scalpel cartridge allows the surgeon to use his/her favorite scalpel handle. It is loaded with polymer-coated blade for the sharpest and...

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  • The V-Comb has undergone vigorous testing (Courtesy of Licetec)

    Also presented at FIME, the Licetec V-Comb is a chemical- and allergen-free comb designed to eliminate lice infestation. Developed in Australia by TwoLife Technologies, and patented internationally as a Class I medical device, the V-Comb provides immediate feedback to the user as they comb, eliminating any uncertainty about the treatment’s effectiveness.


    To satisfy international regulatory standards, the V-Comb has undergone vigorous testing and it is certified and registered with leading international health regulatory agencies, including the FDA, CE and Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration.

    The V-Comb has stainless steel metal teeth for the removal of lice and eggs, while the body is made of robust ABS plastic. Its built-in vacuum assists with drawing head lice and eggs that are removed by the teeth into a disposable capture filter housed within the unit.

    The V-Comb’s teeth remove adult lice, hard-to-see nymphs and eggs from the hair during combing. As the hair is combed, it breaks the head lice life cycle and prevents re-infestation. The V-Comb then removes head lice and eggs from the teeth into disposable capture filters that can later be removed and sealed for hygienic disposal.

    Fourteen Days

    It is safe, simple and user-friendly for regular treatment on multiple children at home. The V-Comb is easily dismantled for cleaning and the combing head can be soaked in hot water. Used regularly, the V-Comb can also be used for early detection of head lice activity and prevent a full-blown infestation.

    The V-Comb (Courtesy of Licetec)

    The V-Comb (Courtesy of Licetec)

    If an outbreak is suspected at school, TwoLife recommends using the V-Comb over a 14-day period. In the first four days, the company recommends combing daily to get rid of all lice and eggs in the hair. Using it consistently the first four days helps ensure that all the lice are picked up, in case any are missed in the first day.

    In the next five to 10 days, TwoLife recommends using the comb two to three times to catch any eggs that might have hatched, or new lice that could have been picked up at school or daycare. On the 11th through the 14th days, use the comb once or twice after school or day-care to check for new lice activity. After the 14-day period, check the hair with the V-Comb once or twice a week for any new activity. It costs $64.99, according to the company’s website.

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    The French company Cleanis has launched its innovative antimicrobial CAREBAG range to help control infections. Since the patient environment is often...

    The Peak Scoliosis Bracing System (Courtesy of Aspen)

    The new Peak Scoliosis Bracing System from the California-based company Aspen is an unloader brace designed to unload the spine, relieve pain and enhance the...

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    NEW HOSPIVAC 400 has been designed for professional aspiration of bodily fluids, gases, tissues or bones of the patient during or after surgery. The family-run...

    An A. aegypti mosquito that can spread chikungunya (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

    A new rapid diagnostic test for the detection of chikungunya is now available from the New Delhi-based J. Mitra and Co. Showcased at FIME, the Advantage Chikungunya IgM Card is a one-step immunochromatography assay that detects chikungunya virus antigen in serum or plasma.


    Serology detects IgM and neutralizing antibodies that develop towards the end of the first week of illness (≥4 days post-illness onset). The test is currently approved for marketing in India, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and GuatemalaAccording to Jatin Mahajan, managing director at J. Mitra, test results can be obtained within 15 minutes and the test offers excellent sensitivity of 97.5% and a specificity of 99.10%.

    The assay uses a sandwich principle, in which the test sample of sera from the patient is introduced and flows laterally through an absorbent pad where it mixes with the conjugate. The complex then migrates through the nitrocellulose membrane by capillary action. When the complex reaches the line of immobilized capture reagents, it generates a pink purple line that indicates that the sample is reactive. The assay also uses a procedural control, an additional control line that has been immobilized at a distance from the test line on the strip. If the test is performed according to protocol, a pinkish purple line will form at the control region upon contact with the conjugate.

    The Helps Support Clinical Findings

    The rapid test permits early diagnosis and avoids problems in patients who aren’t able to follow up appropriately. Patients can be told of their diagnosis and get symptomatic treatment.

    The rapid test permits early diagnosis and avoids problems in patients who aren’t able to follow up appropriately.

    There is no vaccine or medicine to prevent chikungunya virus infections. Also, many countries where chikungunya virus is endemic lack specialist equipment and laboratory skills. An anti-chikungunya IgM detection kit helps support clinical findings in the assessment and differentiates the virus from other pathogens, including dengue fever.

    The Advantage Chikungunya IGM Card requires no instruments and is a qualitative and visual test. Its shelf life is 18 months at 2 to 30 degrees Celsius. The kit is a biohazard free, see-through device, and it comes in a 10-test and 25-test pack size.


    Celia Sampol

    Celia Sampol has been a journalist for 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national medias (Agence France Presse, Liberation). She’s now the editor-in-chief of MedicalExpo e-magazine.

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    Howard Wolinsky

    Howard Wolinsky is a Chicago-based freelance journalist specializing in health-care topics.

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    Laura Newman

    Laura Newman is a New York-based medical writer who writes frequently about medical technological advances and health policy.

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    Kerry Sheridan

    Kerry Sheridan is an authors and health journalist based in Miami, Florida.

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    Christina Kuhrcke

    Christina Kuhrcke is a Berlin-based freelance journalist, doctor and digital storyteller.

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