Odón Device May Help Prevent Future Birth Injuries

Every year, difficult pregnancies occur, resulting in physicians using birth-assisting tools such as a vacuum extraction tool or forceps. Yet the use birth-assisting tools is one the most common reasons birth injuries keep happening. A new invention, however, called the Odón Device, is now in its testing phases as a safer alternative to the more popular tools used to help deliver infants.

What is the Odón Device?

The Odón Device is a birth-assisting tool made of a polyethylene (plastic) bag and rubber suction cup. During a long, difficult delivery, the plastic bag is used to wrap around the infant’s head, protecting the brain and head while the suction cup pulls the baby. A time marker begins when the plastic is wrapped around the infant’s head, a pump on the insertion handle of the device allows doctor to pump a small amount of air into the bag, which helps make a more secure grasp when pulling the infant out. The inside surfaces of the bag are lubricated to help prevent injuries as the baby is pulled out head-first.

Who Invented the Odón Device?

The idea of the Odón Device came about when a mechanic in Argentina, Jorge Odón, watched a video on methods to extract a cork from wine bottles. The video tutorial suggested using a plastic bag around the cork and inflating the bag one is was wrapped around the cork, making the extraction easier and safer. Odón presented his idea to a physician who had success when running mock tests of the procedure, using a glass jar and doll. Since then, the physician and Odón worked on developing the device to work with difficult births.

The device was tested at several hospitals as well as laboratory in Iowa that has simulation equipment. In addition, over 200 women undergoing difficult pregnancies were tested, resulting in safe deliveries. In fact, during one delivery, an infant was delivered successfully after the mother pushing only a few times.

Is the Odón Device Available in the United States?

Currently, the device is still in its testing phase before being released. However, most doctors agree it’s safe enough for midwives to use during training sessions while it undergoes testing, and the World Health Organization (WOH) fully backs the device, stating that it has the “potential to save the lives of mothers and newborns at the time of birth.” In addition, several agencies, such as the Grand Challenges and the United States Agency for International Development, have backed the project.

The device is expected to be manufactured by Becton, Dickinson, and Company (BD), most well-known for making syringes.

Has a Date Been Set for Release?

According to WHO, once the device goes through several series of testing, a three-session protocol in which rigorous experiments will be performed, there will be a better of knowing a release date.

So far, however, the preliminary testing is showing promise that the  Odón Device may one day replace the tools associated with risks of birth injuries.