Nerves on the Monitor

Interview with Christian Hartmann, Managing Director of Dr. Langer Medical GmbH

Dr. Langer Medical Neuromonitors in Action
Langer Medical offers various neuromonitors for a wide range of medical fields. One focus is on monitoring in the field of endocrine surgery

In the field of neuromonitoring, Dr. Langer Medical GmbH is a major player. The company, based in Waldkirch in the Black Forest, has been awarded various design prizes for its intuitively operable products. Its acquisition by Brainlab AG, a pioneer in digital medical technology, now opens up perspectives for Langer Medical on the international market. CEO Christian Hartmann spoke with us about what it's like to do things differently and be very successful at it.

Wirtschaftsforum: Mr. Hartmann, please explain to us what neuromonitoring involves and what role Langer Medical products play in it.

Christian Hartmann: In every surgery, there is one or more 'Nerves of Risk'. These are nerves that, due to their location in the surgical field, are at risk of being damaged. It is necessary to ensure through monitoring before, during, and after the surgery that the nerve function is preserved. Our products work on this basis, offering various neuromonitors for different medical fields. One of our main focuses is on devices for neuromonitoring in the area of endocrine surgery, mainly the thyroid. Here, the nerve responsible for vocal cord function must be protected. In this area, Langer Medical has grown significantly.

Christian Hartmann, Managing Director of Dr. Langer Medical GmbH
Christian Hartmann, Managing Director of Dr. Langer Medical GmbH

We are now also heavily involved in neuromonitors for monitoring facial nerves. Our neuromonitors also contribute to the insertion of cochlear implants in the inner ear, as well as in spinal surgeries, where neuromonitoring is essential due to the high risk involved. However, the most important and largest area where our products are used is now neurosurgery. This is also the reason why Brainlab AG, a software and hardware developer in the field of surgery, has bought us: neuromonitoring is essential to be able to perform neurosurgical operations.

Dr. Langer Medical AVALANCHE® PLUS
State of the Art: the AVALANCHE® PLUS by Dr. Langer Medical, a 32-channel neuromonitor for neuro and spine surgery
Dr. Langer Medical Cleanroom Manufacturing
Manufacturing in cleanroom. The competence of experienced employees cannot be replaced by AI. Langer Medical is an attractive employer; here the individual counts. This is well received

Wirtschaftsforum: Speaking of Brainlab: How is Langer Medical positioned today after the acquisition in 2022 by the parent company?

Christian Hartmann: Langer Medical is a 100% subsidiary of Brainlab AG. Our location is in Waldkirch, where development, production, sales, and service are located. We have 50 employees working here. Our annual turnover is about ten million EUR, with an increasing trend. With Brainlab, there are technical, applicative, and clinical synergies, which will lead to further innovations. Brainlab is already globally positioned with its own branches, so in the next few years, we will greatly benefit from the network of our parent company.

Wirtschaftsforum: Early on, Langer Medical made a name for itself with special products and services. What were important milestones?

Christian Hartmann: Although Langer Medical was not the first company to develop and introduce neuromonitors, it was the first to develop a full-touch monitor system - and that before smartphones even existed. The development of the first continuous monitoring for the thyroid, as far as I know, can also be attributed to Langer Medical. Thus, one can certainly speak of pioneering achievements in the field of neuromonitoring.

Dr. Langer Medical Surgery in Neurosurgery
Without neuromonitoring, surgeries in many medical areas would not be possible...
Dr. Langer Medical Avalanche
...such as in neurosurgery or in thyroid operations

Wirtschaftsforum: What do you see as the reasons for the success of your company and its products?

Christian Hartmann: Indeed, there is something that sets us apart from many other manufacturers: We approached the development of our monitors not from the technical side. Other developers, on the contrary, have transferred their technical thinking to a medical product. But physicians are not technicians. They think from the standpoint of anatomy, not technology, and therefore tend to have difficulty dealing with such highly technical products. We, on the other hand, have developed our systems right from the start from an anatomical perspective. Before going into detail, we always considered: What is the clinical workflow, what is the anatomical approach, to perform the surgery with neuromonitoring? Thus, physicians can operate our devices intuitively. In this respect, we are exceptionally good and have also been awarded various design prizes.

Wirtschaftsforum: What future goals do you have for Langer Medical?

Christian Hartmann: Our next major goal is to enter the US market and to continue growing in general. In the next few years, we want to increase our turnover to 20 to 25 million EUR.