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Home » Pain Management » How a Family Owned Custom Medical Devices Company is Innovating Pain Management

Surgical products are in high demand. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show over 48 million surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed during 28.6 million ambulatory surgery visits to hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers.

For the past 25 years, Spectra supplied about half of the components found in procedural kit packers, such as needles, drugs, scalpels, and sponges. While they still provide those components to medical companies, Spectra is now producing their own kits and branching out with their same commitment to excellence.

“We use all quality products start-to-finish when manufacturing,” says Anthony E. Arrigo, director of global sales and marketing for Spectra. “We also have several inspection points along the way to ensure these parts are always within specification. We strive for quality and patient safety.”

His father, Tony Arrigo, started the family run company in 1995, and serves as Spectra’s President and CEO. They’re headquartered in Massachusetts, where they engineer their medical devices. The products are then manufactured at a company-owned factories using state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment and materials, including the highest grade steel available.

Needle innovations

Spectra is also focused on designing and manufacturing high-quality surgical needles. The company is a world leader in the  manufacture of radiofrequency (RF) needles that are used in nerve ablation procedures. The needles are designed to maximize control for the surgeon and minimize discomfort for the patient.

Spectra has been granted several U.S. patents, including patents on: Cath Slide® for epidural needles and Cath Glide® for spinal cord stimulator lead introducer needles. The patented, proprietary processes involve eliminating sharp edges within the needle’s heel.

“When you grind a needle, you’re grinding steel and using a grinding wheel — there’s going to be small burrs, little imperfections in that bevel,” says Arrigo. “So, it’s what you do after the grinding portion that ensures it will be comfortable and safe for the patient and won’t cause any adverse effects while being used.”

If there were sharp edges, fragments of the catheter could be cut off during insertion, or retraction of the catheter, known as skiving. If a portion of this catheter skives while inside the patient’s epidural space, this would cause a major problem. Arrigo reports the company has never had an issue with skiving in its 25 years. 

Effective pain management

Arrigo, his father, and the Spectra team are excited about the potential of these needles — and other products made by the company — have to help patients manage pain.

For example, a patient with shoulder pain can get a shot of medication. The doctor can precisely insert the needle where it’s needed, using Spectra Guide echogenic technology, a needle with a tip that is extremely visible under ultrasound. 

By using alternative pain management techniques, patients may not need to take prescription painkillers, such as opiates, or they may use fewer pills. That’s a win-win at a time when opiate addiction is skyrocketing

“Rather than just kind of giving them a medication that has the potential for addiction, using some of the available, innovative techniques, you’re actually treating that one specific area that’s causing them pain,” says Arrigo.

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