Surgical backs calls for more operations to tackle obesity

KEYHOLE surgery specialist Surgical Innovations said it traded well in the second half of 2010 and early indications for the full year suggest the group performed in line with market expectations.

The Leeds-based company reported good progress in its 'resposable' products, which include both re-usable and throwaway parts. Surgical has also continued to expand its own branded products.

Chief executive Graham Bowland said: "The group benefits from a strong underlying business and we are cautiously optimistic going forward with a number of additional larger prospects in the pipeline for this year."

But he warned that these contracts can take longer to materialise and are not guaranteed. He said the board will keep shareholders updated.

Results for the year to December 31 are due to be announced on April 19.

Surgical specialises in the design and manufacture of devices for use in minimally invasive surgery and industrial markets.

It manufactures single-use and re-usable instruments for the laparoscopic market.

It has also pioneered its flagship 'resposable' instruments, which it said would ensure ongoing revenue streams.

Over 100 people are employed at the group's 32,000 square feet facility in Leeds, working on in-house design, plastic injection moulding and manufacturing equipment.

Its branded products are sold in North America, Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, South-east Asia and Australia.

Surgical has welcomed the call for more gastric bypass surgery from one of the UK's leading experts on weight loss.

The group is throwing its weight behind claims by Nick Finer, professor of obesity medicine at University College London, that surgery is a far more efficient method of weight loss than dieting.

Surgical's chairman Doug Liversidge is calling for the NHS to fund more operations, which would save the service money in the long term.

"There is an economic benefit as well as a physical one, " he said. "Obesity is not just delinquency in eating, it can be a medical condition, both physical and mental, which needs help."

Nearly all of Surgical's medical devices can be used in obesity surgery, but the main one is LogiFlex, which uses pioneering technology to help surgeons fit gastric bands or undertake bypass surgery on obese patients.

It is estimated that 250,000 anti-obesity procedures are performed annually in the US where obesity affects more than 60 million people, representing the second largest cause of preventable death.