Kids’ surgeons get a lucky break
by Irene Kim
They look like something that might have been used to build RoboCop or the Six Million Dollar Man, but the E-Fix and E-Thotic are actually medical devices to fix kids’ broken elbows.
A supracondylar humerus fracture is the most common fracture in preteen children, annually occurring in approximately 65,000 children in the United States, according to Kurt Vedder, CEO and president of Fixes 4 Kids. This type of fracture traditionally requires more than one doctor to physically realign the bones in a tricky, manually taxing procedure that can damage the patient’s soft tissue and ulnar nerve and cause severe swelling in the extremity. The E-Fix and E-Thotic, by contrast, enable a lone surgeon to easily manipulate the bones into the proper position for X-raying and pinning — and then the child retains the E-Thotic rather than a traditional cast, saving both operating room and surgeon time and costs.
That was the niche Vedder identified in 2008. With more than 20 years of experience in medical-device companies and several years in venture capital with De Novo Ventures, Vedder noticed a great opportunity as he spoke to surgeons in the industry. “It became clear that there was a void of companies offering technology for the pediatric orthopedic space,” he says.
He launched Fixes 4 Kids in 2009 to focus on supracondylar fractures, and the E-Fix and E-Thotic quickly met with a warm welcome throughout the medical community. The current milestone is compiling clinical data, for which clinical trials just began this spring, at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham. At present, says Vedder, he is considering modifying the technology for adult patient fractures in the upper arm and lower leg.