Project Description


A microdebrider is a powered hand piece used during ENT surgeries to incise or remove soft tissue, hard tissue, or bone.

Medtronic approached Metaphase with the goal of developing a new device to set a new standard in the industry with state-of-the-art ergonomics and design to reinforcing Medtronic’s leadership position in the industry.

Metaphase conducted extensive observational research and one-on-one interviews with ENT surgeons to evaluate usability and uncover the users’ unmet, and often unarticulated, needs. Medtronic’s existing microdebrider was uncomfortable to hold, caused hand fatigue, blades were difficult to rotate, and assembly of irrigation tubing was challenging.

Metaphase’s breakthrough design of Medtronic’s M4 Microdebrider has a patented elastomeric grip that provides exceptional biomechanical control of the instrument in all orientations of usage. The rubberized grip is fused to the machined handpiece to allow for unlimited sterilizations. A unique precision control wheel operated with the index finger is used to position the surgical cutting window on the fly, making procedures faster and more comfortable. Integrated suction at the tip of the device keeps the surgical field clear. With better, more comfortable access to sinus and airway anatomy, ENT surgeons can perform a more precise, complete removal of obstructive or diseased tissue with the Straightshot® M4 microdebrider powered by the multispecialty Integrated Power Console (IPC™) .

Sales increased by 243% in the first 60 days of the product launch.

  • On-Site Observational Research – Metaphase team observed ENT surgeries conducted by key opinion leaders to dissect the surgical workflow, analyze individual tasks, and identify human factors opportunities. Surgeons were interviewed regarding pain points with their existing instrumentation.
  • Industrial Design & Human Factors Engineering – Metaphase designers leveraged findings to optimize the ergonomics of the instrument handles and controls. Design team collaborated with Medtronic engineers to maintain compatibility with internal components.
  • Engineering Development – Metaphase human factors and design team evaluated functional prototypes developed by Medtronic to ensure that the final design complied with the anthropometric requirements of the surgeons.