The Innovations In Surgery
New methods, new technologies, new technologies, and new ideas for using existing systems or technologies... There is always something new to list when it comes to improvements in medical technology.
With optical imaging, robotics, and other high-tech advancements adding greater accuracy and less invasive surgical procedures, this area has been optimized to dramatically improve surgical outcomes in the short term.
Will we have Matrix-like microsurgical robots? Will they suck in and out parts of the patient's body?
Well, it's possible. Just two years ago, NASA partnered with American medical company Virtual Incision to develop a robot that could be installed inside a patient and then commanded remotely by a surgeon.
Surgeons have a huge responsibility as they can inflict irreversible damage and perform medical miracles with a single cut in a patient's body. Not surprisingly, as digital technology advances, operating rooms and operators are inundated with a flood of new tools that facilitate surgical procedures with as few incisions as possible.
So here are some cutting-edge advances that will have a huge impact on the future of surgery.
Brain Surgery MARVEL
A six-year partnership between NASA and the Skull Base Research Institute resulted in the production of a 3D high-definition endoscope with a rotating tip, which they named MARVEL (Multi-Angle Rear Viewing Endoscope Tool). Small cameras will allow surgeons to get a very clear 3D view of tumors as they operate. Ultimately, the device's creators believe it will allow surgeons to perform very complex but minimally invasive brain procedures, potentially reducing hardship and speeding up recovery times for patients.
Like it or not, the da Vinci surgical robot was developed more than 15 years ago. Since that day, more and more surgeons have started using robotic systems in the operating room to perform tricky procedures. These robots are still monitored and guided by human surgeons, but thanks to their greater durability and ability to work in very small spaces, robots can perform surgery with greater accuracy than human hands. Fully automated surgical robots for simple tasks like sewing and cutting are also beginning to find their way into surgical theaters.
Electrosurgery is the application of high-frequency (radiofrequency) polarized alternating current to biological tissue as a means of cutting, coagulating, desiccating, or electrocauterying the tissue. Electrosurgical tools, which use electricity to do their job, are used to cut and clean wounds. While these techniques are very useful, they also produce dangerous by-products in the form of smoke. To facilitate their widespread use in surgery, smoke extraction techniques also had to be invented. Smoke pens and other smoke removal tools, in particular, are quickly becoming a standard tool in the operating room due to their effectiveness in reducing this common environmental hazard.
Virtual Reality Surgery Planning
An important aspect of surgery is the preparation phase, during which the operator and support staff decide on the best technique and approach to operate on a critically ill patient. The process can be lengthy and labor-intensive, but the idea of virtual reality for visualization has come a long way in the past few years. Surgeons can immediately use VR technology, combined with reliable imaging scans, to plan the correct course for surgical procedures. This type of planning is faster and in many cases more robust than other traditional methods, allowing for more modest delays before surgery and more efficient service in the actual operating room.
Smart glasses have been around since 2012, but the way they're used in the operating room still needs to be improved. They are meant to be a "mixed reality approach," and the inventors believe they will eventually become a handy tool for orthopedic and other procedures. Smart glasses are small computers that combine a head-mounted display and a video camera that can connect to the internet or other computers. They can be used to remotely view surgery via video streaming and provide surgeons with vital visibility during surgery. Szotek uses the AMA Xpert Eye in the studio to collaborate with other surgeons, live video stream to the training classroom, and record thoughts. Remote experts and trainees can record from his views and diagrams to his eyes and interpret the material in real time.
Over the past many years, rapid advances in computing and automation have greatly assisted the surgeons and medical specialists who support them in the operating room. As these technologies continue to develop and become increasingly available to hospitals, they have the potential to transform surgical review and save countless lives. The future looks bright for these and other high-tech medical devices.
Over time, while technological advances will have an increasing impact on the way surgeons perform surgery, the human element will always be critical. Managing patients with empathy before and after surgery will ensure that the surgeon's role is also invaluable in the age of robotics and artificial intelligence.