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Leading health care products company, Covidien plc. (COV - Analyst Report) recently received 510(k) approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its LigaSure curved, small jaw, open sealer/divider surgical instrument. The device can now be utilized for ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeries.

Earlier, in February 2011, Covidien had received FDA approval to use the LigaSure instrument for general surgeries. With this latest FDA approval, the device can be applied to an extended range of surgeries such as head and neck procedures along with parotidectomies, thyroidectomies and additional open ENT procedures. About 160,000 of such procedures are conducted every year in the U.S. alone.

The LigaSure vessel sealing products from Covidien’s Energy business (under the Medical Devices segment) significantly contribute to the company’s top-line growth. The LigaSure technology has been used in millions of surgeries worldwide and has received positive feedback from surgeons. In the last reported quarter, revenues from Energy Devices soared 10% to $330 million, led by strong vessel sealing sales.

The multifunctional LigaSure Small Jaw instrument offers physicians greater flexibility while performing procedures in confined surgical rooms. The device is capable of sealing, blunt dissection, grasping and dividing tissue efficiently, requiring less time and effort. Powered by the ForceTriad energy platform, the device offers low temperature profile, suitable to the surgeon’s requirements and spreads minimal thermal energy to surrounding tissues.

The LigaSure device will be displayed at the American College of Surgeons Annual Clinical Congress in Chicago, IL from September 30 to October 4.

Covidien is a leading global health care products company with a history of developing high-quality products in a cost-effective manner. It competes with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Analyst Report), Becton Dickinson (BDX - Analyst Report) and C.R. Bard (BCR - Analyst Report), among others. The company plans to bolster sales with the help of strategic acquisitions.

Covidien remains committed to rolling out new products and technologies, focusing on emerging markets, and boosting market share in core segments through investments in sales and marketing infrastructure.

However, sustained pricing/procedure volume pressure, fluctuating foreign exchange rates, a sluggish U.S. and European economy represent major headwinds. We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Covidien, which carries a short-term Zacks #4 Rank (Sell).

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