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Surgery

Medical

Robot betters expert surgeons at soft tissue stitching

In the 2012 film Prometheus, archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw seals herself in a medical pod and undergoes a robotic surgical procedure to remove an alien growing in her abdomen. While people not involved in a sci-fi universe shouldn't ever need such a procedure, robotic surgery certainly has its benefits. Working with the body's soft tissue has proved difficult, however, because of how much it can squish and change during surgery. A new machine called the Smart Tissue Automation Robot (STAR) at Johns Hopkins University has overcome this obstacle and proven its ability by operating on pigs.Read More

Good Thinking

Solar-powered "Sterile Box" targets hospital infections in developing countries

One of the risks of undergoing a surgical procedure is getting an on-site infection, which leads to longer periods in hospital and even death, especially when bacteria is resistant to current drugs. In developing countries the problem is bigger as hospitals often lack staple sterilization instruments such as an autoclave. In order to tackle this issue, a team of Rice University students and their mentors are developing a solar-powered sterilization unit that could be a life-saver in regions with little or no access to this type of equipment.Read More

Medical

NiLiBoRo robot cuts around corners for safer head surgery

Removing tumors from the inner ear can be a tricky business, with surgeons often having to remove a large amount of bone to safely complete procedures. Researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute have created a new tool, likened to a robotic worm, that is designed to revolutionize the process, while lowering the physical impact of the surgery on the patient.
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Medical

Firefighter gets most comprehensive face transplant yet

In what is being touted as the most complex and complete face transplant ever performed, a crew of medicos at New York University's (NYU) Langone Medical Center has replaced the entire face of 41-year-old Patrick Hardison, a volunteer firefighter who suffered catastrophic burns while on duty in 2001. The team replaced Patrick's scalp, ears and ear canals, parts of bone in the chin and cheeks, and his entire nose. He also received new eyelids and the muscles that control them.Read More

Medical

Fraunhofer device could be a surgeon's third arm

Being a surgeon is a pretty high-stress job, and relies heavily on surgical assistants for things like setting clamps and holding tools. Researchers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute are looking to lighten the load a little, by developing a metal hand that lets surgeons more directly control what's happening on the operating table.Read More

Medical

Hydrogel infused with snake venom stops bleeding within seconds

Major, uncontrolled blood loss can have major ramifications everywhere from the battlefield to the operating theatre. While blood-clotting medications can be used to stem the flow, often their purpose is thwarted by conflicting anti-coagulating drugs that thin the blood instead. But now scientists have developed a promising new hydrogel infused with snake venom that is drawn to the wound and shuts down bleeding in a matter of seconds.Read More

Medical

Needle-sized mechanical wrist gives surgery a new angle

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.Read More

Medical

Mussel-inspired surgical glue shuts down bleeding wounds in 60 seconds

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.Read More

Space

Surgical team simulates zero-gravity surgery

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.Read More

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