Medtronic has signed a definitive agreement to acquire US-based medical device company, RF Surgical Systems, for $235m.

The RF Surgical business will be merged into Medtronic’s Surgical Solutions division within the Minimally Invasive Technologies Group.

Headquartered in Carlsbad, California, RF Surgical Systems develops systems to detect and prevent surgical sponge-related ‘never events.’

Medtronic Minimally Invasive Therapies Group Surgical Innovations Business president and senior vice-president Chris Barry said: “Patients are our priority. Improving patient safety and outcomes is our daily focus, which directly aligns with the RF Surgical technology, a simple and cost-effective solution to avoidable complications in surgical procedures.”

“We are pleased to be joining the Medtronic team as their long-standing commitment to patient safety closely aligns with RF Surgical.”

RF Surgical Systems CEO John Buhler said: “We are pleased to be joining the Medtronic team as their long-standing commitment to patient safety closely aligns with RF Surgical.”

Characterised by leaving a sponge, gauze or towel inside a patient, surgical-related never events, if left untreated, could cause serious and life-threatening issues such as intra-abdominal abscess, intestinal fistula or obstruction, perforated colon, haemorrhaging or infection.

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The RF Surgical system uses a low-radio frequency (RF) signal to track and detect surgical gauze, sponges and towels through blood, dense tissue and bone.

The proprietary detection technology aims to reduce patient complications due to surgery, lessen unnecessary procedures and increase efficiencies within the operating room.

RF Surgical Systems produces RF Assure Detection System X, which includes three scanning devices that will detect sponges in the patient or surrounding suite without disrupting existing workflow.

The firm’s RF Assure Delivery System was designed to assist in preventing retained sponges in the labour and delivery environment. In addition, the company produces RFDetect Premium, which is an exclusive line of surgical lap sponges, gauze and towels.

Subject to regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to be completed by August.

Image: Medtronic operational headquarters, Minneapolis, US. Photo: courtesy of Medtronic, Inc.