The Screw Cutter Beta Continues at Mulago Hospital, Uganda 

The latest feedback on the newest Screw Cutter

One of the most important components of medical device development is developing tight knit relations with users to get meaningful feedback. This is especially important when developing medical devices for low-resource environments. Through the Screw Cutter Beta program, we recently received some amazing feedback on our screw cutter from the Uganda Sustainable Orthopedic Program (USTOP) surgeons, nurses and administrators at the Mulago National Referral Hospital. While we were in Mulago, we got direct feedback from Ugandan surgeons and tested the device in one of the main orthopedic operating rooms. 

Initial impressions of the screw cutter beta prototype:

The screw cutter beta prototype was first showcased at a USTOP bioskills workshop of orthopedic residents. The residents were very impressed to see the improvement implemented that were lacking from our previous prototype. A number of hospital residents wanted to immediately purchase the screw cutter so they can use it in their practice after they graduate. The main feedback gathered from these sessions were: a) there is a need for this device and b) deciding on an affordable market price as soon as possible. 

How did the screw cutter prototype perform in the operating rooms?

Using the screw cutter in the operating room revealed some noteworthy improvements for its design. Even though the original cutter design was very simple, it was clear that the operation of the device should be even simpler for high-stress operating room cases.  From the usability study we found three main points of improvement. A) Create a more streamlined measurement mechanism; B) Increase the variety of the screw diameters it can shear and C) Create a more ergonomic handle that doesn't pinch your finger (ouch!).

“Your innovation is noble. It will help decongest the surgeon's table of the tedious bulky screw sets„ A quote from a Ugandan surgeon

Our next steps include implementing the suggested design changes and further developing the screw cutter for the next USTOP trip in September. Meanwhile, we are looking for sources of funding to begin the medical device certification process.  We are working towards having the screw cutter on the market as soon as possible. If you have any inquiries about this project please feel free to contact us at 

Finally we would like to thank the Ugandan surgeons, residents and nurses at the orthopedic department of Mulago National Referral Hositpital and the USTOP team for their continued support and feedback. 

About The Screw Cutter Project

Our device can help surgeons create custom screws to treat injuries when vital surgical screws are unavailable. An NSERC-funded initiative, the Screw Cutter Project is a collaborative effort between UBC biomedical engineering and a team of orthopaedic trauma surgeons at Vancouver General Hospital.