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Surgical Tissue Clamp


During vitreoretinal surgery, multiple instruments are introduced through scleral openings (sclerotomies) in the wall of the eye through which vitreous humor and other fluids can leak. Loss of intraocular fluids can lead to surgical complications, such as collapse of the eye, retinal bleeding, and detachment of the retina. Some intraocular procedures, such as retinal transplantation or implantation with in vitro retinal tissue, may require making unusually large incisions in that eye that must be repeatedly opened and closed while minimizing disruption of the pressure equilibrium within the eye. Many other surgical or traumatic wounds require selective closure with apposition of aligned edges (margins) of the wound.

Technology: The invention describes a convenient tissue clamp that can be easily manipulated to selectively close and reopen surgical incisions and traumatic wounds while maintaining homeostasis and wound protection, until surgical repair is completed. The clamp consists of jaws with parallel clamping faces that align the margins of incised or wounded tissue and prongs that project from inferior surface of the jaws which engage the margins to be aligned. As the jaws close the prongs help move the tissue into alignment. Optional suture guide slots through the jaws assist in the placement of precisely placed sutures across the incision. Thus, the surgical clamp is particularly suited for selectively closing and reopening surgical incisions, such as a large sclerotomy incision in the eye.

Competitive Advantage: Currently available medical clamps do not readily reversibly join opposing edges of surgical incisions in a secure and efficient manner to maintain structural integrity of incisions of varying sizes. Incisions may be manually sutured to close the wound and the sutures then removed to open it, but this approach is time-consuming and risky leading to collapse and possible loss of the eye.

Commercial Applications: Vitreoretinal surgery, Implantation, Traumatic injury surgeries, Blood vessel, Skin or Bowel surgeries.

Technology Readiness Stage: The surgical tissue clamp prototype has been designed and used in animal surgeries with convenience and excellent results. The clamp has been used during implantation into the retina of a scaffold on which choroid and retinal pigment epithelium cells and retina grow in a three-dimensional matrix that mimics the native structure of the retina. The surgical clamp is packged with two other NEI technologies, “Method for Reproducible Differentiation of Clinical Grade RPE Cells” ( E-212-2015) and “Surgical tool and Methods for Ocular Tissue Transplantation” (E-192-2014) and is available for codevelopment. Ideal partner will have surgical tool manufacturing capability to mass produce the surgical clamps. Design improvements are likely. Intellectual Property: U.S. Provisional Application filed. Technology available for co-development, non-exclusive/exclusive license consideration (E-293-2016)

Inventors: Kapil Bharti, Vladmir Khistov, Juan Amaral, Arvydas Maminishkis (NEI), Steven Charles (special volunteer to NEI)


Mala Dutta, Ph.D.
Office of Translational Research

Last updated: May 18, 2020