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Health, Science and Environment

Grand Rapids resident and CEO of Xenocor highlights new surgery technology

A new medical device technology with West Michigan roots will bring cost-effective laparoscopic surgery to low-income world populations.

Laparoscopic endoscopy is the minimally invasive way to perform surgery inside the abdomen or chest. The platform is a camera system dating back to 1987.

Grand Rapids resident and CEO of Xenocor Evan Kelso is revolutionizing the technology with the Food and Drug Administration approved Xenoscope. Kelso says a laparoscopic tower is made of glass and steel hooked up to $250,000 worth of gear projecting images.

“It’s pretty much the gold standard of care in this country and other developed countries, but 80% of the planet still doesn’t have this surgery due to the high cost," Kelso said."

At about $1,000 per use, it plugs directly into a laptop, tablet or television set.

“We now live in a time where consumer camera systems, really driven by cell phones, have created these really high-end, HD chips and really, really efficient LED lights," Kelso said. "So, we’ve used that time and space to put a 1080p imaging chip and some really nice LED lights on a single-use laparoscope".

Involving painful, large incisions that can take up to a month to heal compared to small poke holes that can heal in a day or two a day. Kelso believes his cost-effective leap in medicine should be available to the world.

“There’s a tremendous amount of demand," Kelso said. "I mean there’s 15 million laparoscopic procedures being done worldwide currently and most of those are done in Europe, Americas, Japan and Australia. But like I mentioned before, most of the planet still does open procedures".