UK-based medical equipment manufacturer Smith+Nephew has acquired Tusker Medical for an undisclosed amount.

Based in California, Tusker Medical has developed the Tula system for tympanostomy tubes, also called ear tubes, to treat recurrent or persistent ear infections.

The acquisition is part of Smith+Nephew’s strategy to invest in advanced technologies to meet fulfilled medical requirements.

The Tula in-office solution allows placement of ear tubes in the doctor’s office without performing general anaesthesia for patients six months and older.

With the help of Tula, a doctor numbs the eardrum by employing child-friendly anaesthesia even as the patient may sit, play and watch videos.

A doctor, using a specialised tube delivery system, places an ear tube accurately within half a second using an automated device.

The solution comprises Tula iontophoresis system, which induces local anaesthesia by using Tymbion. It also includes Tula tube delivery system to create a myringotomy and insert a tympanostomy tube.

Smith+Nephew sports medicine and ENT president Brad Cannon said: “The Tula System is a truly innovative option for physicians treating incredibly common ear conditions. It is a game-changer when treating children, removing the risk and stress of general anaesthesia for patients and caregivers.”

The acquisition of Tusker is said to complement Smith+Nephew’s existing ENT business, with the same customer and patient populations.

The UK-based firm’s COBLATION technology is frequently used in tonsillectomy and soft tissue management, employed by both general and paediatric ENT surgeons.

Tusker president and CEO Amir Abolfathi said: “I am immensely proud of the paediatric-focused technology that we have developed, and to receive PMA approval along with Breakthrough Device designation from the FDA.”

Smith+Nephew plans to begin the commercial launch of Tula in the US in the first quarter of this year.

The company secured breakthrough device designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the Tula system. Last November, Smith+Nephew secured pre-market approval (PMA) for the system.