The Boston Scientific eXcelon Transbronchial aspiration needle is a minimally invasive procedure used to collect tissue for the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer. It is a safe, economical device with a low incidence of complication, it lowers the need for invasive surgical procedures and also reduces healthcare costs.

As the global leader of less-invasive medical devices, Boston Scientific wanted to simplify Transbronchial Needle Aspiration (TBNA) –The original Boston Scientific needle assemblies were two-handed devices, with multiple pieces that often detached, bent or kinked. Leaks in the wire assembly would dislodge biopsy samples from the needle, necessitating a repeated procedure. In short , these needles were difficult to use, expensive to manufacture, and sometimes failed during the procedure. Our main goal was to improve the UI/UX and if possible reduce the overall manufacturing costs. The schedule was to complete a production ready version within two months.

From initial research, it was determined that the original needles were not only a two-handed operation, they were commonly a two-person operation. This required clear communication and coordination between the doctor and the scrub nurse. Time tracking helped us prioritize feature requirements.

With research phase complete, the HaA team then focused on concepts with a syringe locking feature that allowing single-handed actuation. With the understanding that a single handed actuation was necessary it became apparent that their existing assembly methods were not optimal. HaA recommended the needle actuation and syringe vacuum to be offset. This enabled us to eliminate most of the tight tolerances and drastically reduce cost. The new Swordfish form evolved quickly from there.

In summary, the freeing of the hands of the surgeon set this device apart from competitors. The new UI was intuitive and quickly learned by its users. The procedure time was reduced and the issue of dislodge biopsies was eliminated. Manufacturing costs were drastically reduced.

This award winning product has been very profitable for Boston Scientific!


Project Details


person Medical

folder Boston Scientific

light Engineering, Test Development, Manufacturing Support, Usability