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Surgery

A robotic intubation system that inserts endotracheal tubes in patients is being tested on...

Pretty much any time a patient is placed under a general anesthetic, a plastic endotracheal tube is inserted down their throat, in order to keep their airway open. The procedure is known as intubation, and has so far always been performed by hand. In this age of robotic surgery, however, it’s perhaps not surprising to hear that surgeons at Montreal’s McGill University Health Centre are now trying out a remote-control intubation system on human subjects.  Read More

An Australian industrial designer has invented a low-cost battery-powered surgical lamp fo...

While those of us living in First World countries may take an easily-accessible source of continuously-flowing electricity for granted, such is not the case in developing nations. Many communities have little or no electrical infrastructure, and experience frequent power outages. While people wishing to read a book in the evening could perhaps use a simple lighting device like the Solar Pebble, the matter becomes quite a bit more serious should the lights go out at a hospital, in the middle of an operation. Many hospitals have turned to using kerosene lanterns, but Australian industrial designer Michael O'Brien has created what he believes is a better alternative – a low-cost battery-powered LED surgical lamp.  Read More

Relatively complex instruments, such as this surgical retractor with integrated irrigation...

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.  Read More

Researchers are developing a system that would allow surgeons to control both computers an...

Although surgeons need to frequently review medical images and records during surgery, they’re also in the difficult position of not being able to touch non-sterile objects such as keyboards, computer mice or touchscreens. Stepping away from the operating table to check a computer also adds time to a procedure. Researchers from Indiana’s Purdue University are addressing this situation by developing gesture-recognition systems for computers, so that surgeons can navigate through and manipulate screen content simply by moving their hands in the air. The system could additionally be used with robotic scrub nurses, also being developed at Purdue, to let the devices know what instruments the surgeon wants handed to them.  Read More

The hands-free interface developed by the Virtopsy research project to review medical imag...

The development of open source drivers for Microsoft's Kinect motion-controller is already opening up new (if not entirely unpredictable) applications for the device. This example, developed by members of the Virtopsy research project at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern in Switzerland, is a functional prototype using Kinect that provides users with a hands-free way to review radiological images.  Read More

The PlasmaButton Electrode developed by Olympus promises fast, accurate and gentle treatme...

A new low-temperature plasma technology promises less invasive treatment for men with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate. The PlasmaButton Vaporisation Electrode developed by Olympus allows surgeons to literally vaporize the enlarged prostate tissue quickly, safely and virtually bloodlessly, with minimal damage to healthy tissue.  Read More

A team of Harvard researchers has perfected a technique to track cells and molecules in li...

Scientists and MDs have a wide range of technologies available for the imaging of live tissue, but each of these comes with its own limitations - be it poor contrast, low resolution, long response times or the viewing process damaging the tissue being observed. A team of Harvard researchers has developed a new type of optical biomedical imaging that promises to overcome these obstacles and is so fast and high-resolution that it can capture live video of cells and molecules.  Read More

A stitch in time ... artificial animal body tissue is helping veterinarian students gain c...

It’s vital that surgeons, whether operating on humans or animals, are familiar with how body tissue feels and reacts before conducting their inaugural operation. However, until recently, many veterinarian students were practicing basic surgical and suturing procedures on carpet pads and pig’s feet before moving on to their first “live” patient. But an invention by Colorado State University (CSU) veterinarians has provided students with a substrate that is infinitely closer to the real thing by developing artificial body parts that closely resemble real skin, muscles and vessels – they can even bleed! Of course the real benefit is that no animals (or humans) are hurt in the procedures.  Read More

Kryptonite provides five to ten times the mechanical strength of the breastbone closure of...

Stories about Kryptonite are sure to pique interest, and this one has both a "super" and a scientific angle. Canadian researchers are using a super glue called Kryptonite to create a stronger closure of the breastbone for heart patients after open chest surgery. This means faster recovery time, fewer complications and less post-operative pain.  Read More

The SpectroPen could help surgeons see the edges of tumors in human patients in real time ...

Statistics indicate that complete removal, or resection, of a tumor is the single most important predictor of patient survival for those with solid tumors. So, unsurprisingly, the first thing most patients want to know after surgery is whether the surgeon got everything. A new hand-held device called the SpectroPen could help surgeons provide a more definite and desirable answer by allowing them to see the edges of tumors in human patients in real time during surgery.  Read More

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