Chinese device cuts surgery time for male circumcisions to 5 mins

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 June, 2015, 8:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 June, 2015, 8:00am

The World Health Organization has endorsed a device from China that makes it easier and faster to perform surgical circumcisions, which could spur its adoption in regions with high HIV transmission rates like sub-Saharan Africa.

The device, which consists of two plastic and rubber rings, eliminates most of the bleeding, inflammation, swelling and pain associated with the procedure, the WHO said in a statement last Wednesday.

“Its prequalification by WHO is another example of the increasing role China is taking in global health,” said Dr Bernhard Schwartländer, the agency’s representative in China. 

“This new device will be especially valuable in low resource settings – as it does not require use of facilities for surgery. It’s a highly practical solution,” he added.

Researchers who ran a concept study of the device in Kenya said it can be administered by non-physicians due to the low level of surgical skill required.

Shang Jianzhong, a former city map surveyor from Wuhu in east China’s Anhui province, originally called his invention the “Holy Ring” before renaming it the “ShangRing” in homage to its maker. 

He began researching ways to make the procedure less painful after undergoing laser-knife circumcision in 2002. 

Reports say he showcased a similar product to the ShangRing at the Hong Kong International Fair of Technology in 2003.

The latest device works by folding the foreskin back over the first rubber ring. The second, larger ring, which has a sharper edge, is then placed on top. 

When the two rings are closed, the blood supply is gradually cut off and the tissue dies and falls off, according to videos of the procedure on YouTube

The initial fitting takes about five minutes, or one-fifth the time of conventional surgery, according to researchers who conducted clinical trials. 

No sutures are required, but the rings must be worn for a period of seven days to allow them to close properly.

The device comes in over 20 sizes, media reports claim.

Clinical trials and pilot studies, mostly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, were conducted on the safety and acceptability of the device. The results convinced the WHO to prequalify its global use. 

Due to minimum bleeding and pain, nearly all patients reported satisfaction in clinical trials, the researchers said.

ShangRing will be particularly useful in parts of Africa that suffer from high HIV infection rates as removing the foreskin can reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases like HIV by up to 60 percent, the WHO said.

The WHO’s prequalification program only endorses products that comply with international health and safety standards.

The product is being manufactured by Wuhu Snnda Medical Treatment Appliance Technology.