Lazurite is a Cleveland Ohio based medical device start up. The company is recognized in the Innovation, Product Launches and Research and Development categories in the 2022 Medical Device Network Excellence Awards.
The company is ranked off the back of the launch of its ArthroFree Wireless Surgical Camera system, which allows for minimally invasive arthroscopic and general endoscopic surgery without the need for camera and light wires.
The modular system comprises Lazurite’s low heat, high efficiency Meridiem light technology along with a high performance rechargeable battery, modern camera, wireless communication technologies, and ergonomically designed handset. It has also been designed to have drop-in compatibility with patient data consoles, endoscopes and surgical displays.
The company hit an important milestone in March 2022 when it received US Food and Drug Administration market clearance for the ArthroFree system. This was followed in September 2022 by another important step as the first surgery using the system was performed by orthopaedic surgeon Laith M. Jazrawi, MD at NYU Langone Health.
The company had already made steps towards a market introduction in 2021, partnering with The Center for Health Affairs, the Northeast Ohio hospitals association, and its affiliate CHAMPS Group Purchasing with an aim to provide new surgical tools in the market and operating rooms in Northeast Ohio and the US. This was followed by additional partnerships with Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York, University Hospitals of Cleveland and LG Electronics USA.
Arthroscopic cameras have undergone numerous incremental improvements over the last 50 years, yet they continue to be tethered by light and power cords to power and light boxes in the surgical tower. With its new ArthroFree™ Wireless Surgical Camera System, Lazurite™ ushers in the wireless era of surgical visualization.
The company hit an important milestone in March 2022 when it received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) market clearance for the ArthroFree system. This was followed in September 2022 by another important step as the first surgery using the system was performed by orthopedic surgeon Laith M. Jazrawi, MD at NYU Langone Health.
Lazurite is a medical device and technology company established in 2015 and headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. To date the company has raised approximately $25M from institutional investors, family offices, and more than 70 physician champions. The mission: solve impossible problems to improve people’s lives. The ten-year vision: better outcomes for one million patients—and thousands of clinicians, too.
The idea for a wireless surgical camera came about when Lazurite CEO and cofounder Eugene Malinskiy witnessed a physician assistant (PA) trip over the camera and power cords in a surgical suite. The PA was badly hurt and the surgery had to be scrubbed. Malinskiy began to consider why there were all these wires in the OR when so much in the world today is wireless.
The ArthroFree System took seven years to develop at an R&D cost of more the $9 million. The system includes the first wireless surgical camera to receive FDA 510(k) marketing clearance for arthroscopy and endoscopy. ArthroFree is now in commercialization following the first in-patient surgery by Laith Jazrawi MD at the NYU Langone Orthopedic Center on September 13, 2022.
Many doctors who have used the ArthroFree System in the lab or the OR regard it as the most promising innovation in arthroscopy in decades. The system eliminates the cords that hinder the surgeon’s agility with the camera during surgery and add to the work of the OR nurses and scrub technicians. Conventional systems for minimally invasive surgery require more tower components in the sterile field, which increases the probability of device malfunction and delays due to unavailable, wrong or accidentally contaminated cords.
The elimination of cords also reduces the risk of camera-cord-related patient burns, OR fires, and staff trips and falls to zero. (The operating room is the second most common location in hospitals for slips, trips, and falls.) Studies confirm that the ArthroFree System is 28% faster to set up and take down, which translates to cost-per-case savings of up to 27%.
At the innovative core of the ArthroFree System is a light technology breakthrough. The LED light source of conventional camera systems creates too much heat (380 degrees Fahrenheit) and consumes too much energy to be used in wireless technology. In fact, up to 99% of the light energy in a conventional surgical camera dissipates as thermal energy between the source light box—typically 90W to 400W—and the scope on the end of the camera. Lazurite developed three proprietary technologies to solve this problem:
- First, Lazurite’s engineers developed Meridiem™ light technology: a proprietary, laser-based, low-heat light source (4W; maximum heat: 109dF). The Meridiem light engine inside the ArthroFree System offers a compact and rugged alternative to conventional light boxes. (Moreover, the Meridiem light technology requires just 1% of the wattage of conventional surgical cameras for comparable lumen. With electric lighting comprising up to 20% of a hospital’s energy use, high-efficiency lighting can potentially contribute significant cost savings.)
- Second, the engineers developed a secure, HIPAA-compliant, point-to-point wireless communication technology that transmits images with imperceptible latency for a real-time visualization experience. The system’s state of the art image processor is compatible with 4K and HD.
- Third, they developed a high-performance, rechargeable battery with a minimum run time of 45 minutes—plenty long enough for a variety of arthroscopic surgeries. The technology is all delivered through an ergonomically designed wire-free handset that increases range of motion and dexterity for the surgeon.
No conventional camera/light system compares to the ArthroFree System. And yet, the system is designed to be fully drop-in compatible with current industry standard OR technology.
In developing ArthroFree, the Lazurite team abided by Albert Einstein’s first principle of design—”Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler”—for the benefit of OR staff and patients alike.
Lazurite’s intellectual property portfolio includes the low-heat Meridiem light technology, wireless communication technology, and other products in development. The Meridiem technology is ready for productization, backed by Lazurite patents in jurisdictions around the world. This market-ready asset indicates opportunities in multiple markets, with potential applications in healthcare, aerospace, and manufacturing.
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