Med Device Monday: A Symphony

Medical Devices are more than just cool electronics and new wave technology. While that frontier is clearly important and something I am fascinated by, medical devices are also found in the very basics of medicine. Everything in your doctor's office from the tongue depressors to the sharps disposal bin are medical devices. This is something I find myself explaining to people a lot when it comes to medical devices, and which I think is an oft-misunderstood issue with medical devices: sure, the sexy stuff is important, but the bread and butter is vital, too.

 Scalpel! (Photo from Wikipedia.com.)

Scalpel! (Photo from Wikipedia.com.)

There's a story (and its follow-up) making the rounds on news sites and social media about toddler twins conjoined at the skull (known as craniopagus twins), and the incredible 27-hour surgery they underwent to be separated (that's not a typo: twenty seven). What struck me when I read about the operation (and the several leading up to it) is that the story is teeming with medical devices. From the 3D modeling software that helped the doctors plan and execute the surgery, to the scalpel used to make each careful cut, none of it would have been possible without medical devices. This is a true masterpiece demonstration of how medical devices–from the most simple to the most complicated–work together to do truly awe-inspiring things.  

The videos are a bit a tear-jerky, but worth it:

FDA has a great piece here about what makes a medical device. It discusses how medical devices need not be complicated to qualify and draws a clear line between medical devices and medicine. At the heart of their criteria is the following:

 Screenshot from fda.gov.

Screenshot from fda.gov.

Have there been any seemingly simple items you were surprised to learn were medical devices?