Surgical Sealants: Is there a cohesive strategy?12 years on

Re-reading Mary Stuart’s article in Start-up June 1999 (Windhover Publishing) should be a slightly painful exercise for anyone who’s been involved in the development or marketing of Surgical Sealant technologies over the past dozen years. What was true then is pretty much true now and surgical sealants feel about as mature a market sector now as they did then too. In fact the article states that “it took eight years for surgical staples to penetrate the market”, implying that surgical sealants might follow a similar path (12 years ago!) and that “focus groups with these docs can be misleading: They will agree that there is a general need for the technology, but if you ask them whether or not they would use it , they say “I don’t get bleeding” or ” I don’t get adhesion” (probably also “I don’t get air/CSF/pick your medium) leaks.” We never hear those words these days do we? So what do we conclude? Well, firstly it’s not all bad is it?… a $1Bn global market is hardly a story of failure… but there are still so many cases where we (the industry) believe there are economic and outcome-related benefits of using our product, but where it isn’t used, that we can’t call it an unmitigated marketing success story. So where’s the marketing gap and how do we explain the relatively slow uptake compared with even staples? We’ll leave you to ponder that and maybe even propose a few explanations in the days to come. Tissuemed is a new entrant into the market with a revolutionary product offering in the form of TissuePatch synthetic absorbable bioadhesive films…”sealants” is all we do, so we should at least have a vision of the future which involves communicating the benefits to people we believe will benefit.