How is Technology Changing Surgery?
When you think of how the field of medicine has advanced along the continuum, you have to be amazed at how the human race keeps besting itself. Many of the technological improvements have helped to make preserving and extending life a highly probable outcome against seemingly impossible illnesses.
Even general surgery instruments have become more advanced. Here are just a few highlights of surgical technologies that are worth mentioning.
At one time, it was almost impossible to imagine a surgery happening without the surgeon being in the same room as the patient. Now, thanks to advances in virtual reality, a doctor's physical presence is not always necessary. In 2016, Shafi Ahmed used a virtual reality camera at the Royal London hospital to perform an operation on a cancer patient's bowel.
Dr. Ahmed's surgery had a second success as well. As he performed the procedure, a medical student in South Africa, a journalist in the United States, and others watched the procedure being broadcast over two 360-degree cameras.
The ability to make the surgical technique accessible to so many viewers at once has breathed new possibilities into medical education. Medical students can learn through more direct and up-close observation rather than peeking over a surgeon's shoulder. Virtual reality can give this opportunity to a larger volume of students both in a live setting and through educational content created later.
Although it is not possible for the average person to turn to a company like the Medical Device Store and simply order a robot that performs surgery, hospitals and medical facilities have been heavily investing in them. In fact, by the year 2020, biomedical analysts expect surgical robotics sales to nearly double to $6.4 billion.
The most popular surgical robot, the da Vinci Surgical System, has been around for at least 15 years. It has tiny arm extensions that hold surgical instruments. Its primary advantage is that it can bend and rotate at much wider ranges than the human hand without ever getting tired.
The surgeon is still in control of the surgery during operations, but the precision is much sharper and the margin of error is smaller. Because the da Vinci is such a large machine, other companies, including Google, are currently developing more advanced systems that can work with more fragile tissue.
As general surgery instruments have continued to evolve, the possibilities for medicine have expanded exponentially. For the most part, expectations for the medical world and the general public have kept up. The possibilities for surgery are endless.