Break-through technological advances in surgical techniques have continued since the earliest times, and in the 21st Century the rate of expansion of medical knowledge has not slowed but only surged higher than ever. Tools and procedures that make safer and more efficient the surgical task and reduce any painful after-effects have increased in recent years. Below we will look at five such new surgical innovations to get a taste of the progress that prevails in the medical world.
The use of minimally invasive endoscopic methods that allow more informative and precise pre-surgery visuals of the pituitary and other areas of the brain and skull. This sort of information combines with his highly specific and in-depth training to enhance his ability to perform brain surgery with fewer complications, reduced pain levels, and with a faster recovery process. No resort to the older open-brain craniotomy is needed. Thousands of patients (5,000 plus) have benefited from this new pre-surgery data-collection device and the less invasive methods it makes possible.
Multi-angle Rear-viewing Endoscopic Tool (MARVEL)
Has pressed the frontiers of endoscopy even further by teaming up with NASA to develop an even more advanced MARVEL tool. MARVEL allows 3D display, greater flexibility of angle of view, and can be used as an inset screen on top of the endoscopic picture produced by the tool noted in the last paragraph. MARVEL is considered a “super instrument” and is paving the way to a future with smaller, thinner, higher definition, and non-invasive surgical equipment which will avoid disturbance or damage to nearby tissues during the endoscopic evaluation process.
The Whipple Procedure
Pancreatic cancer is among the worst cancers that exist and often spreads from the pancreas to other parts of the body. When caught in time, still isolated in the pancreas, it is often decided that the infected organ must be removed. Until very recent times, surgical operations on the pancreas saw a high rate of mortality and injury, but the new Whipple Procedure of Johns Hopkins Medicine has reduced the rate down to two percent. Laparoscopic technique is sometimes used in this procedure to reduce the size of incisions, the amount of blood lost, and the risk of post-surgery, patient infection.
Three Millimeter Laparoscopic Device
Even better for some purposes than the laparascope mentioned above is the new, tiny 3 mm variety used at St. James’s University Hospital. Surgery involving gall bladder removal, for example, has been rendered safer and less scarring by use of this miniature device instead of the usual-sized laparascope. Pain, hernia, and tissue damage were all reduced by this less-invasive method.
Targeted Muscle Re-innervation (TMR)
This new procedure is often used with arm amputation patients. It takes nerves from the amputated arm and re-assigns them for use with a prosthetic device. The mere thinking about movement of the prosthetic arm can control and move it, just like with an original human arm. Our increased knowledge of how nerves work after long research and experimentation has finally led to the practicality of such a device.
These five examples of modern medical innovations that have led to concrete benefits for thousands of patients are but the tip of the medical iceberg. It would be difficult to list in full the flood of surgical innovations with which we have been blessed, and new innovations emerge every year.