Solvay's Ixef® PARA Selected Over Metal in New Disposable Laparoscopic Dynamic Retraction System

High-Performance Thermoplastic Delivers Strength, Rigidity, and Biocompatibility in Patent-Pending NovaTract™ Dynamic Retractor

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – NovaTract Surgical Inc., Madison, Conn., has developed the NovaTract™ Dynamic Retractor, a unique disposable 5-mm laparoscopic rectractor that helps increase visualization and easy manipulation of organs for general, colorectal, gynecologic, urologic, and robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery. The retractor’s trigger is molded of Ixef® polyarylamide (PARA) resin from Solvay Specialty Polymers for high strength, rigidity, and biocompatibility.

This patent-pending retraction system offers improved tissue manipulation with its exclusive tension adjusting system, which is coupled with the ability to easily modify the angle of retraction as needed. The retractor potentially reduces the number of ports used specifically for retraction in difficult cases. NovaTract’s award-winning technology allows the surgeon to achieve reduced-port surgeries without changing surgical technique.

Ixef® PARA is used to injection mold the 5-inch (12.7-cm) long trigger mechanism, which must withstand a high spring load. The material’s high strength and rigidity maximizes the stroke length of the device when firing the nitinol and stainless steel anchor. The tensile and flexural strength of Ixef® PARA compounds are comparable to many cast metals and alloys at ambient temperature. The material is also creep resistant, unlike competitive thermoplastics such as glass-filled polycarbonate which also exhibited flexing in the trigger mechanism prototypes.

“Ixef® PARA handles the rigors of this unique application thanks to its exceptional strength,” said Bryan Carter, senior engineering manager for NovaTract Surgical, Inc. “This combined with its biocompatibility gave us assurance that we would meet applicable regulatory requirements.”

The trigger mechanism, molded by Somerest Plastics, based in Middletown, Conn., is made of Ixef® GS-1022, a gamma-stabilized compound that combines high strength and stiffness with an ultra-smooth, high-gloss finish. The injection molded part withstands high-energy gamma radiation and ethylene oxide (EtO) sterilization procedures without significant change in appearance or degradation of mechanical properties.

NovaTract Surgical, Inc. launched the laparoscopic dynamic retractor in October. It will be sold nationally to hospitals throughout the U.S.

Ixef® PARA resins demonstrate no evidence of cytotoxicity, sensitization, intracutaneous reactivity or acute systemic toxicity, based on biocompatibility testing as defined by ISO 10993:1.

About NovaTract Surgical Inc.

NovaTract Surgical Inc., based in Madison, Conn., is a venture-backed start-up company founded to develop new, innovative laparoscopic medical devices for surgeons to take minimally invasive surgery to the next level of ease and simplicity. The initial entry product addresses the need to increase visibility by using fewer instruments, provide dynamic retraction, and reduce the number of trocar ports and incisions. Founded in April 2010 by Eleanor L. Tandler, Chief Executive Officer, based on the novel technology conceived by Kurt E. Roberts, M.D., Associate Professor of General Surgery at Yale University School of Medicine, NovaTract Surgical, Inc. was established to introduce innovative medical devices to the operating room that would enable surgeons to more efficiently treat their patients. With the continued focus on improving current practices in minimally invasive surgery, while being sensitive to the economic climate and concerns in healthcare, NovaTract Surgical, Inc. is dedicated to not only providing clinical solutions but to also offering value-added products to the entire surgical suite. For more information, visit

About Solvay Specialty Polymers

Solvay Specialty Polymers is a leading global supplier of high-performance thermoplastics for implantable and non-implantable medical devices. The company has expanded its focus on the healthcare industry to meet the growing needs of its global customers. Solvay is building on its 20-year history as a key material supplier in the healthcare field, devoting considerable new resources to help customers be more efficient and cut costs. Metal-to-plastic replacement remains a key focus for manufacturers, but increased cost pressures pose a new challenge as the market continues to grow at a double-digit pace. Solvay also continues to devote considerable research and development activities to polymer technology and commercialization of new and unique material options for medical OEMs and processors.

Solvay Specialty Polymers manufactures over 1500 products across 35 brands of high-performance polymers – fluoropolymers, fluoroelastomers, fluorinated fluids, semi-aromatic polyamides, sulfone polymers, aromatic ultra polymers, high-barrier polymers and cross-linked high-performance compounds – for use in Aerospace, Alternative Energy, Automotive, Healthcare, Membranes, Oil and Gas, Packaging, Plumbing, Semiconductors, Wire and Cable, and other industries. Learn more at

As an international chemical group, SOLVAY assists industries in finding and implementing ever more responsible and value-creating solutions. The Group is firmly committed to sustainable development and focused on innovation and operational excellence. Solvay serves diversified markets, generating 90% of its turnover in activities where it is one of the top three worldwide. The group is headquartered in Brussels, employs about 29,000 people in 55 countries and generated 12.4 billion euros in net sales in 2012. (Solvay SOLB.BE) is listed on NYSE Euronext in Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLB.BR).

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Joseph Grande

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