Photo of Visa Sippola

Biotechnology & medicine

Visa Sippola

Preventing postoperative complications while surgeons cut or perforate bone will be possible thanks to his surgical device

Year Honored


Some medical procedures necessitate cutting or perforating bone, but this implies a risk of accidentally damaging neighboring tissue. This type of mistake can provoke potentially fatal complications which cost medical professionals over €4 billion each year, according to medical student Visa Sippola. In order to minimize these collateral medical damages and the costs they generate, this medical student has developed a disposable and adaptable surgical drill bit which is compatible with any conventional surgical drill in order to minimize risks and improve safety. And thanks to this breakthrough, Sippola has been named as one of MIT Technology Review, Spanish edition's Innovators Under 35 Europe 2017 2017.

"It is not difficult to understand that when one uses a surgical drill, there are fragile tissues which can be damaged," the medical student and innovator explains. And with this premise in mind, emerged Surgify.. This product's greatest advantage is that it works like a "suspension system" which is activated when hard substances are cut and deactivated in the proximity of soft substances.

Surgify adds safety, speed and effectiveness to conventional drills. Limiting the ability of the drill bit from cutting sensitive tissue reduces interruptions and decreases the risk of postoperative complications. All of this is only possible because Surgify is a mechanical solution. According to Sippola, this makes the tool "more reliable and safer."

Surgify is mainly intended for use during "surgical procedures in which bone must be cut or perforated," Sippola explains. The bit was designed with the most challenging and complicated surgeries in mind, like those which are performed "on the brain or in the vicinity of the spinal cord." But its creator affirms that Surgify could be applied to many other fields, such as orthodoncy, orthopaedic surgery and endovascular procedures.

With the collaboration of Tekes, the Finnish Innovation Funding Agency, and a working prototype, Sippola and his team are currently engaged in preparing the commercial launch of Surgify. Although his primary target are large hospitals, this young innovator believes that his product could also reach mass markets in consumer power tools which are responsible for many injuries. However, he does feel that the "most interesting" application of his innovation is in the robotic surgical field.

Surgify is an "incredible innovation", in the words of the research fellow at the Human and Artificial Cognition Laboratorio at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (France) and jury member for Innovators Under 35 Europe 2017, François Jouen.  The expert values the "elegance and simplicity" of this tool, which he considers capable of "improving surgery and reducing the risk associated with surgical interventions."

By María Hammer

Translation: Teresa Woods