The Age of Medical Advancements

Glossary

Implant:

augment:

What advantages do these new technologies bring?

These new medical advancements offer improved accuracy and better efficiency. For instance, a study from the SPINE Journal showed that “The technology was shown to be significantly better with respect to overall accuracy, compared to pedicle screw placement without the aid of Philips’ augmented-reality surgical navigation technology (85% vs 64%, p<0.05)”. These means that Surgeons are less likely to misplace an implant or screw during surgery. Once these machines are created, they are able to be improved upon and be even more helpful. For example, Laura Bourdeanu, an Adjunct Professor in the School of Nursing at the Excelsior College, said “Using digital imaging devices– like new and improved models of MRI, CT Scan, PET and ultrasound machines which are equipped with better functions and interfaces– helps to automate common processes faster and more accurately than previous models”.

CT machines take images taken from different angles and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images, or slices, of the bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside your body. They provide more information than the average X-ray machine does.

Have these been used to perform surgery on a person?

Although some of these are mere concepts, there are those that have and are being used to this day. One example of a work in progress build can be found in an article from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences that stated that their new robotic heart sleeve is an achievable goal, however, “More research needs to be done before the sleeve can be implanted in humans but the research is an important first step towards an implantable soft robot that can augment organ function”. This means that they are not completely sure that this device is safe for humans so they are still working out the kinks. On the other hand, there is surgical robot that is currently being used called the Da Vinci Robot Surgeon. Laura Bourdeanu, an Adjunct Professor in the School of Nursing at the Excelsior College, stated that ”The first such operation occurred in 2001, when surgeons in New York performed the first transatlantic operation on a patient in France”.

Why aren’t these medical technologies present in all hospitals?

The reason why they are not in a lot of hospitals is because of two reasons. Either the machines still have to be cleared by the FDA, or the hospitals simply do not have the resources to afford to install these machines. For example, Royal Philips, a leader in integrated image-guided therapy solutions, announced the creation of an “Industry-first augmented-reality surgical navigation technology” that can be used in a hybrid OR. However, there is only just over 750 hybrid operating rooms worldwide (PHILIPS). This means that there are only a select few hospitals that have this available to them. Furthermore, when these new inventions are created, they have to go through extensive testing in order to be able to be used on humans. In fact, an article written by ARGO Medical Technologies stated that they have just developed a new device called the Rewalk Personal which can be used for rehabilitation. However, ARGO Medical Technologies states that the ReWalk is ”Currently available in Europe and pending FDA review in the US”.

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