The past few years have seen an exciting number of innovations in surgical technique. Technological updates like surgical robots and advanced cameras have made surgery safer and more efficient for patients and surgeons alike. Dr. Mark Filstein, an experienced plastic surgeon, explains some of the most recent developments in surgery and how these advancements are changing the medical landscape.
Improving Brain Surgery Outcomes
The Skull Base Institute, working with NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has developed a high-definition 3-D endoscope called MARVEL. This stands for the Multi Angle Rear Viewing Endoscopic tool. The system has one of the world’s smallest 3-D cameras. The Institute hopes that this technology will make brain surgeries easier while reducing the patient’s recovery time and the chance of complications.
Previously, most brain surgeries required a craniotomy, where large pieces of the skull are removed to provide access to the brain. With the MARVEL camera system, craniotomies may not be necessary for every brain surgery.
Most 3-D cameras have two lenses to produce a stereoscopic view, but the MARVEL camera has a dual-aperture system within one lens. This enables the camera to be smaller and more maneuverable. The neck of the camera can bend up to 120 degrees, giving surgeons a better view of hidden areas. MARVEL is poised to revolutionize the field of brain surgery.
AI Surgical Robots
Surgical robots such as the Da Vinci system have been in use for over 15 years, but the technology is receiving important updates. The use of AI means that surgical robots can be more independent and make decisions based on available data. Currently, a human surgeon still needs to supervise the machine at all times, but in the future this may no longer be the case.
AI surgery has been successful in vascular repair. It is able to suture blood vessels which are no larger than 0.3 millimeters across. It has also been used for bowel surgeries and prostatectomies. As this technology develops, it will revolutionize microsurgeries and give better patient outcomes.
Smart Glasses for Surgeons
While smart glasses themselves have been on the market for several years, their use in surgery has recently increased. In 2018, a company in Taiwan introduced the Caduceus device, which allows surgeons to see 3-D images of a patient’s organs during procedures. The patient first needs to have a full-body CT scan to capture the images needed.
The glasses can help surgeons position their needles with greater accuracy. The glasses are able to relay precise information about their position with a GPS-like system, reducing a surgeon’s dependence on external monitors.
The Caduceus glasses both improve patient outcomes and reduce the amount of radiation that surgeons and patients are exposed to during the course of normal surgery. They will become an important addition to any operating room.
In recent years, surgical procedures have evolved greatly. The field of cardiovascular surgery has experienced many revolutionary updates. Catheter-based surgeries are now possible for many cardiovascular problems. This enables surgeons to avoid open-heart surgeries in many cases, performing procedures like valve procedures, hybrid aortic procedures, and device insertion through a catheter.
This approach reduces patients’ healing time as well as preventing many of the complications that can occur with open-heart surgery. There are fewer opportunities for post-surgical infections as well.
These new procedures and devices have the potential to help many surgical patients. Through the use of small cameras, smart glasses, AI surgical robots, and catheter-based procedures, surgeons are able to provide their patients with safer and more effective treatments. Dr. Mark Filstein believes that these surgical advancements will revolutionize the world of medicine.