6 Biggest Changes in Surgical Advancements
Technology and medicine go hand in hand, now more than ever. Modern surgery advancements have allowed surgeons to be more accurate during procedures, and reduce risks and recovery time for patients.
In recent years, the shift towards more technology-based approaches to surgery have been notable. According to a recent study from JAMA Network Open, the use of robotic surgery alone for general surgery procedures increased from 1.8% in 2012 to 15.1% in 2018.
Medicine is always evolving, and these advancements have important implications for the future of medicine around the world – providing significant improvements to surgical outcomes and patient quality of life in times to come.
Surgery Advancements in the Medical Field
Every year, new surgical technology is invented to help medical professionals perform their jobs in a safer, less time consuming manner. Not only does this make the surgeon’s work easier, but it also allows for better patient care.
Here are just a few of the most significant surgical advancements in recent years.
1. Robotic Surgery
How often have you heard the phrase “I’m only human” after someone makes a mistake? Humans have limitations, but in surgery, there’s no room for error. Today, surgeons often rely on robots to assist with surgeries.
Robotic surgery isn’t performed without humans. Instead, the robots enhance a human’s precision, control, and flexibility during precise procedures.
Surgical robots have several arms. One robotic arm has a camera, through which the surgeon can see what they’re working on, and other arms are various surgical instruments. The surgeon controls the robot using a computer that is located near the operating table.
The greater precision from surgical robots allows for a more minimally invasive procedure, which comes with a wide array of benefits, including:
- Shorter hospital stays
- Faster recovery times
- Fewer complications
- Reduced risk of infection
- Smaller incisions
- Smaller scars
- Less pain
- Reduced blood loss
While robotic assistance in surgery is nothing new, advancing technology has made it affordable and more accessible to surgeons worldwide.
Two technological trends have dominated the world lately: robotics and wireless connectivity. Telesurgery is the marriage between the two. With telesurgery, surgeons can operate surgical robotic instruments from anywhere in the world using wireless networks.
Plus, surgeons don’t have to be physically onsite to perform operations. Instead, they can stay at their home hospital and perform surgeries all over the world. Now, patients don’t need to travel to medical professionals to get the care they need.
Telesurgery has become especially popular during the COVID-19 outbreak, and a world report from the Journal of Robotic Surgery shows that COVID-related safety measures may need to remain in place for the foreseeable future.
In the U.S., these measures have included:
- Increased use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- More frequent sanitation and disinfection practices
- Delaying less essential surgeries
- Use of triaging algorithms to determine which patients are most in need of hospital resources.
Chief among these new strategies is the use of telesurgery. Using wireless connectivity, surgeons can operate on patients from a safe distance, reducing the risk of infection for both doctor and patient. Telesurgery is the best way to perform non-emergency procedures in a socially distanced, COVID-19 world.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is one of the most popular technological advances in the world right now.
It allows search engines to:
- Predict what you want to know
- Maximizes logistics for transportation company
- Fly commercial planes through the use of algorithms that automate many of the decisions typically made by human pilots.
It was only a matter of time before medical professionals started using AI during surgeries. Medical professionals are incorporating AI into surgical robots to gather information and provide data-driven insights about procedures.
There has been great success using AI to determine stem cell placement in the eye, heart, and brain to maximize regeneration and find the optimal locations for anti-cancer therapies. While AI isn’t able to operate independently or make medical decisions, it’s giving surgeons vital information that they need to perform procedures and maximize surgical outcomes.
4. Multi-Angle Rear-Viewing Endoscopic Tool (MARVEL)
In the past, endoscopic instruments could only give surgeons a fixed angle view of what they’re working on. After a six-year collaboration between NASA and the Skull Base Institute, the MARVEL is now giving surgeons unparalleled visibility during operations.
It’s a state-of-the-art camera system that allows surgeons to capture three-dimensional images and create a virtual environment of the human body to assist with surgeries. It was initially developed for brain surgery but has much broader surgical applications.
Benefits of this camera include:
- It’s small size (under 4mm wide)
- It features a tip that can rotate an impressive 160-degrees.
- Once the surgeon inserts the camera, he or she can view obstructions and tumors in 3D to give them a better idea of what they’re working with.
- The smaller camera only needs a tiny incision for less invasive surgery.
Using this tool, surgeons can perform procedures more accurately, leading to increased success rates.
5. 3D Printing
3D printing is quickly revolutionizing the healthcare industry.
One of the most incredible potentials of 3D printing is the ability to fabricate living tissue and organs for transplants. There have been several instances in which medical professionals have successfully printed working human organs, including hearts and lungs. This could eradicate the need for donors and ensure that anyone who needs an organ will have access to it.
Surgeons are also using 3D printing to practice complicated and unique procedures. With 3D printing surgeons can:
- Print out detailed, lifelike models of entire body parts, including heads and abdomens to practice a specific surgical procedure in a low-risk environment and perfect their surgical techniques.
- Identify potential complications before the procedure to increase confidence and reduce risk.
- Test various surgical procedures to see which methodology would be the most effective in each patient’s unique situation.
6. Video-Enabled Surgical Headlights
For surgeons, visibility is essential. Blood absorbs a lot of light, so performing surgery requires focused illumination on the surgical site. In many cases, the surgeon performing the procedure isn’t the only person who needs to see what’s happening.
Modern surgical headlights not only have super bright LED lights, but they also have high-resolution cameras. These headlight camera systems capture exactly what the surgeon sees, allowing others to remotely view the operation from the best possible perspective.
During the procedure, this video feed lets remote consultants:
- Provide accurate, real time advice to the surgeon performing the procedure from anywhere in the world.
- Enables the surgeon’s onsite team to get a better look at what’s happening for more cohesive teamwork in the operating room.
After the surgery, these point-of-view videos can be archived for later auditing and training. Because of the crisp video, there’s no ambiguity during audits, and medical students can learn by viewing operations from the surgeon’s perspective.
As time goes on, these types of tech-enhanced surgical assistance tools will become the norm — even more so than they already are. Surgeons who want to stay on the cutting-edge can get familiar with these options and consider how wired, portable, or camera-integrated headlights can improve their process and help them deliver better outcomes for their patients.
Headlight Camera Systems To Help Ensure Safe Surgical Outcomes
In order to ensure safe surgical outcomes, it is crucial that surgeons have the proper tools and equipment to do their jobs – and enhanced lighting is a key factor.
State-of-the-art products such as BFW’s surgical headlights offer viable solutions, whether it’s portable fiber optic surgical headlights, surgical camera solutions or charging stations, BFW leads the way. Contact the specialists at BFW today to learn more about how headlight camera systems can transform the way your team performs surgery.