Some of the most difficult types of surgery just got easier and more versatile. A team of engineers and doctors at Vanderbilt University has developed a tiny mechanical wrist that can be used for millimeter-sized incisions and sutures that allow new kinds of operations and less-invasive ways of conducting existing procedures. The wrist is flexible enough that its end can be steered to allow needles to reach inside the nose, throat, ears, urethra, and brain.
The ability of mussels to stubbornly bind themselves to underwater surfaces has intrigued scientists for years. If this ability could be recreated in the lab, it could lead to new adhesives for all kinds of applications. A team of Korean scientists has now developed a surgical glue inspired by these natural wonders that's claimed to be cheaper, more reliable and incur less scarring than existing solutions.
So far, astronauts haven't suffered medical problems much worse than a bad cold, but what about when the inevitable happens and someone needs surgery millions of miles from the nearest hospital? To seek answers, a surgical team recently carried out a simulated operation aboard a Canadian research jet designed to create weightless conditions.
When surgeons are trying to operate on hard-to-reach organs, they'll
often have to make multiple incisions to get at the area from different
angles, or use tools such as retractors to pull other tissue out of the
way. A team of researchers from Italy's Sant'Anna School of Advanced
Studies, however, is developing an alternative – a flexible octopus arm-inspired tool that can squirm its way between organs, then hold them back while simultaneously operating.