This year has undeniably been filled with milestone achievements coming out of Saudi Arabia, from the rescinding of a decades-old ban on female motorists to the reintroduction of public theatres across the country. Now, once again, the Kingdom makes another landmark announcement a bit more than half way through 2018, this time in the field of science. Three Saudi Arabian specialists, Dr. Abdulkareem Fida, MD and Consultant Otolaryngologist and facial plastic surgery; Meshaal Al Harasani, inventor and adviser at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU); and Dr. Faisal Zaqzooq, E.N.T (KAU), have developed a tool that will finally make painful cartilage reconstruction surgery a thing of the past.
The Jeddah-based team has developed a new procedure for cartilage problems using non-invasive surgical instruments. The journey to achieving this remarkable innovation started in 2012, a six-year-long endeavour that today has resulted in a scientific breakthrough that the three men have coined the KAU Rasping Tool. The team initially designed a saw-shaped needle that can reshape ear cartilage through a pinhole. The needle was first used on soft cartilages typically found in children’s ears. When the team was convinced that the tool worked successfully on younger patients, it then developed the needle into a thicker version that can be used on cartilages in adult patients. Today, the three specialists are in the process of designing a handle that will be attached to their KAU Rasping Tool.
The three men received a letter of appreciation last year from the French President Emmanuel Macron for their innovation. Speaking on the evolution of the instrument, Dr. Fida said, “We consulted with a leading French manufacturing company and were advised to use Nano laser and Nano technology. Then we made the needle serrated and thick, with a certain flexibility to enter under the skin. Today the new needle works on most cartilages. This will enable future non-invasive surgeries in the knee without opening the knee cartilage.”
Also, on the topic of the team’s revolutionary innovation, specialist Al Harasani explained that he saw the tool as more than a medical instrument. He feels that it represents the many possibilities that exist in today’s Saudi Arabia, saying, “Our ambition is to give young Saudis a global voice. The new generation is the harbinger of change. With knowledge and creativity anything is possible.’’