The endoscopic laser-welding suturing device (Image: Fraunhofer)
Relatively complex instruments, such as this surgical retractor with integrated irrigation tube, could reportedly be made using the laser melting process (Image: Fraunhofer)
If you remember the MASH episode where Hawkeye and BJ got the Korean fix-it guy to build them a one-of-a-kind vein clamp, then you will understand the importance of custom-designed surgical tools – surgery is definitely not a field in which people should just make do with the next-best thing. Unfortunately, the production of some types of instruments can be quite involved, meaning they can't always be created quickly or cheaply. At this month's MEDTEC Europe trade show, however, researchers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials will be demonstrating new technology that uses a laser melting process to easily create pretty much any surgical instrument imaginable ... or so they claim.
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