Frugal Surgical Innovations are the Need of the Hour


surgical pathways

How to Cite

Sharma, D. (2023). Frugal Surgical Innovations are the Need of the Hour. The Physician, 8(2), 1-6.


Innovation is defined by the dictionaries as “a new idea, device, or method; or the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods.” However, Surgical Innovation (SI) is more difficult to define. Common narratives include why-where-how-what-who as well as novelty, degree of change, safety, ethical standards, level of impact and peer acceptance. [1, 2] We have proposed a simpler, more egalitarian and ‘inclusive’ definition: “a SI is ‘any’ new surgical idea which improves patient welfare by solving an existing problem; and which like a three-legged stool is balanced by the three legs which represent surgical-precision, surgical-wisdom and patient-safety”. [3]

Frugal Surgical Innovations (FSIs) are low-cost surgical innovations which are designed for economic reasons. These are all about ‘doing more and better with less for more people’. [4] FSIs make up for their lack in sophistication or complexity in affordability, without scrimping on safety or effectiveness. The three constructs of FSIs are: affordability, adaptability and accessibility. [5] The philosophy of FSIs originates from grassroots, resource-constrained settings (RCS), where most abundant of all-natural resources — human ingenuity — is used to optimize limited resources to solve problems. [6] Clinically meaningful inclusive research can be performed ‘only’ by surgeons working in RCS; as ‘only’ they understand the difficulties and nuances of various problems and can provide simple affordable solutions for their patients. [7]


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Mission statement, Centre for Global Surgical Innovation and Low Cost Solutions, Department of Surgery, Government NSCB Medical College and Allied Hospitals, Jabalpur, India 482003. Available from

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