One of the most dangerous factors in complex surgeries, especially those involving the brain, is the extensive length of time it can take to complete such a procedure. The longer a patient is under, the more dangerous anesthesia becomes. The longer organs and other internal parts are exposed, the higher the risk of infections.
Now, a new device has been designed that can automatically perform the drilling actions in cranial surgery, and this automated drill is 50 times faster than a human.
Automated Drill, Robotic Surgery?
This new automated drill, designed at the University of Utah, performed a procedure to remove noncancerous growths in the brain associated with hearing loss in patients. The team released a paper which describes the surgery in detail.
According to it, what would otherwise have taken human surgeons two hours to complete, this new device completed in just two and a half minutes. That’s 50 times faster – an amazing accomplishment and a huge leap forward in patient care.
The researchers referred to this procedure as a “proof of principle”, meaning that the robotic drill could be used to perform even more complex surgeries. It produces clean, fast cuts using a patient’s CT scan as its core data. That speed exposes the body for far less time. This can also lead to a reduction in the risks of infections and other complications. It could also help cut back costs and the chance of human error.
“It’s a time-saving device, more than anything,” said William Couldwell. “We can program [it] to drill the bone out safely just by using the patient’s CT criteria.”
He is the lead neurosurgeon involved with its development. Of course, a surgeon would be standing by at all times. They would be able to adjust, take over, or switch the system off at any moment if complications arose. The device will also have a large number of internal safeties and protocols designed to protect patients.
Image Source: Wikimedia