Safer bone surgery thanks to a technique patented at Aalto

MIT Technology Review selected Visa Sippola as one the most promising young innovators.

Surgical drills, commonly used in the surgery of the head, spine, extremities and in dental operations, may damage the soft tissue near the bone. It is estimated that complications associated with surgical drills cause costs amounting to more than EUR 4 billion every year and, in the worst cases, can lead to the patient’s death.

Visa Sippola, who worked as a researcher at the Department of Neurosurgery at HUS, had an idea for a new type of drill bit. It would contain a mechanism to protect the soft tissue and could be installed in existing surgical drill systems.

The idea of safer bone surgery convinced the surgeons, the team and Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, which granted funding aimed at the commercialisation of the idea. Now, a year and a half later, in September 2017, the respected technology publication MIT Technology Review has selected Sippola as one the 35 most promising young innovators in Europe. There were more than 1 100 candidates for the list.

The jury described the invention as an incredible innovation that will facilitate surgical procedures and reduce risks related to them. The tool is elegant in its simplicity, the judges said.

Read more from the Aalto University website.