Monday, May 14, 2007

The Future of Surgery

Recently on NewScientist there was an article discussing what will probably be the future of surgery. No general anesthetic, no visible scars, fewer infections, and faster healing time.

We've all seen or at least heard of laparoscopic surgery. It's where surgeons blow you up like a balloon, punch a few small holes in you, stick little robotic arms into the holes, and go to work. Well, Natural Orifice Translumenal Endosurgery (NOTES) takes laparoscopic surgery to a whole new level.

What happens is instead of poking holes into your stomach and blowing you up like a balloon. The surgeon sticks his cool robotic arms down your throat. When he gets to your stomach he finds a nice place to cut a hole and then goes for whatever he is trying to fix.

Surgeons have done the appendix through the mouth thing a few times. A few pancreatic cancer diagnoses again via mouth. And get this, Doctors have taken out gall bladders through the vagina.

So what's the catch? Well, the technique is still pretty new. Doctor's are worried that this thing will get over-hyped. Just remember that anytime you let someone stick their hands (robotic or otherwise) down your throat there are going to be some risks, and you might not like it very much. But, then again, it sure beats getting blown up like a balloon...

Read more for links.
NewScientist - Appendix-removal via the mouth leaves no scar
Transvaginal Cholecystectomy performed at Columbia University
Natural Orifice Surgery Consortium for Assessment and Research

15 comments:

Rich said...

Here's a short wikipedia article on NOTES: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NOTES

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Cynthia Blue said...

That is awesome. Finally the days of Doctor McCoy are coming. :)

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