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Surgery

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.

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Scientists from Oregon State University (OSU) have developed a new method that could make for better precision in the killing of cancer cells. The technique puts to use a unique compound with the ability to illuminate cancerous cells when exposed to near-infrared light, potentially acting as markers for surgeons taking on the intricate task of tumor removal. Read More
Though printing items like chocolate and pizza might be satisfying enough for some, 3D printing still holds a lot of unfulfilled potential. Talk abounds of disrupting manufacturing, changing the face of construction and even building metal components in space. While it is hard not to get a little bit excited by these potentially world-changing advances, there is one domain where 3D printing is already having a real-life impact. Its capacity to produce customized implants and medical devices tailored specifically to a patient's anatomy has seen it open up all kinds of possibilities in the field of medicine, with the year 2014 having turned up one world-first surgery after another. Let's cast our eye over some of the significant, life-changing procedures to emerge in the past year made possible by 3D printing technology. Read More
In today's installment of "How 3D Printing is Changing Healthcare Forever," a Massachusetts-based medical device company is forging new ground in knee replacement surgery. A combination of CT imaging, modeling software and 3D printing technology is enabling ConforMIS to offer implants tailored specifically to each patient. The development could help avoid complications that often follow the procedure, such as pain arising from instability of the joint. Read More
Conventional open surgery on the brain involves drilling openings in the skull through which to access the gray matter. But what if the part of the brain needing to be accessed is located at the bottom of the brain as is the case with treating severe epileptic seizures? Generally it means more drilling. Now engineers at Vanderbilt University have developed a surgical robot that uses an alternative point of entry – the cheek. Read More
The technology that built (and continues to maintain) the International Space Station can now be used to help heal sick children. KidsArm, a robotic arm designed for delicate pediatric surgery, was built by the same companies that are behind the robotic arms used by astronauts to construct the ISS. Read More
According to market-based research firm IDTechEx, the medical and dental market for 3D-printers is set to grow from US$141 million to $868 million by the year 2025. And when you consider the recent spate of groundbreaking medical procedures, it is pretty easy to see why. The latest surgery brought to you by the seemingly endless possibilities of 3D-printing comes at the hands of doctors at China's Peking University Third Hospital, who produced a custom implant to replace a cancerous vertebra in the neck of a 12-year-old boy. Read More
While the impacts of 3D printing are indeed far-reaching, the medical industry stands to gain as much as any from this fast-growing technology. Following in the footsteps of patient-specific surgeries and treatments such as skull and jaw implants, as well as custom-molded mouthpieces for sufferers of sleep apnea is the first spinal fusion surgery performed using a 3D-printed spine cage. Read More
In what is being touted as a world first, a quadriplegic man has been given the ability to move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts thanks to the implantation of an electronic device in his brain and muscle stimulation sleeve. Part of a neurostimulation system dubbed "Neurobridge," the technology essentially bypasses the damaged spinal cord and reconnects the brain directly to the muscles. Read More
A new procedure promises to lift and support women's breasts with better-lasting results than traditional methods. The Orbix Breast Support System uses thin silicone straps attached to the ribs to provide support. Orbix says the technique "eliminates breast re-sagging and minimizes scarring." Read More
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