San Francisco Foot Surgeon Awarded Patent : New Surgical Instrument Improves Foot Surgery
Alexandria, VA – August 29, 2006. – Today the United States Patent and Trade Office awarded a patent to San Francisco Bay Area Foot Surgeon, Dr. Christopher Segler. According to the Patent Office, “it has been determined that a patent shall be granted under the law.” The purpose of granting the patent to Dr. Segler is to protect the inventor surgeon’s right to solely produce this “new and useful invention.”
The Tarsal Joint Space Distractor, now protected by U.S. Patent #7,097,647 is an improved dual axis surgical retractor for use by orthopedic surgeons or podiatric surgeons for controlled distraction of tarsal joints (the small joints in the foot) or compression of osseus fragments (the foot bones). This retractor consists of a pair of screw actuated retractor arms, the tips of which each have apertures for receiving and facilitating temporary pin fixation of the respective tarsal bones to be retracted or osseus fragments to be compressed.
The main purpose of the instrument is provide better access to the small, tight joint spaces that foot surgeons encounter when performing bunion surgeries, foot fusions, flatfoot surgery and some foot fracture repairs.
When asked about he came up with the idea for the invention Dr. Segler Segler said, “On one of my surgical rotations in medical school I was allowed to scrub in with an internationally renowned foot surgeon in San Francisco. This guy was well-known and even had a surgical procedure named after him. So I was excited to get to learn from him in surgery.”
Dr. Segler continued, “The surgical case that day was a triple arthrodesis, a way to fuse the main joints of the rear-foot to end arthritis pain and restore stability to a deformed flat foot. It is a big surgery that typically lasts for a few hours. And for three hours I watched an accomplished surgeon struggle to open the three largest joints in the foot to remove damaged cartilage and prepare the foot for surgical correction. I just knew there had to be a better way. So I went home and started doing some preliminary drawings and came up with the Tarsal Joint Distractor.”
When we asked Dr. Segler if he thinks he is unique in his ability to solve problems like this in surgery he said, “I don’t really think I am unique in my surgical ability. I believe there are many talented foot surgeons in Northern California, particularly San Francisco, Marin, and Palo Alto. I can say this because I have worked with or learned from many of them myself. I think the only “unique” thing about me as a surgeon is that I am a relative perfectionist and always seeking new ways to provide the best care that I possibly can. This keeps me searching for new ways to improve common foot surgeries and keep my patients healthy and happy.”
The Tarsal Joint Distractor is now available exclusively from a medical instrument firm called Tarsal Instruments.