[intro]All these changes can be attributed to the technical advancements which help surgeons to accomplish complex operations safely using fewer incisions. The advancements being experienced in the industry are great news, particularly to those patients facing surgery. This is because the operations are bound to become less invasive, less painful, safer and less expensive. Moreover, patients will experience fewer post-operation complications.[/intro]
The future of surgery will entail:
Minimally Invasive Surgery
Surgical techniques are evolving rapidly. Due to this, futuristic surgery will involve minimal invasive procedures resulting in faster recovery with minimal post-operative pain and reduced scarring. This will revolutionize surgical care and treatment. It is bound to reduce the need for pain medication, shorten hospital stays, improve cosmetic results and reduce trauma to patients.
Single-incision Laparoscopic Surgery
Laparoscopy surgery is a medical procedure that requires a surgeon to access the patient’s abdominal cavity. To visualize the cavity, the surgeon can use a laparoscope. He/she can perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures thereafter. Single-incision laparoscopy surgery is the next phase in minimally invasive surgery. The traditional laparoscopy is characterized by multiple entry-points, where 4-5 half-inch to one-inch incisions are made around the surgical area. However, the single-incision laparoscopy surgery procedure requires a single 1.5-2.5 inch incision in the patient’s belly bottom. Miniature surgical tools with a small camera are inserted through the incision during the operation.
Currently the procedure is mainly used for gynecological and gallbladder removal. It is the final frontier in laparoscopic surgery, after which we will expect a natural orifice surgery which will not involve any external incision. Single-incision Laparoscopic Surgery is currently available in more advanced community hospitals. It is however a specialty procedure which requires advanced training.
To perform a successful surgical operation using fewer and smaller incisions, the surgical tools used must be tiny and more advanced. That is where robotic surgery comes in. It is a computer-assisted surgical procedure which enables the surgeon to carry out a surgical operation using robotic instruments. The equipment uses a surgical robotic arm which can go beyond the limits of a human hand. It is also possible to amplify video images in the 3D format and perform more precise movements.
Robotics will be very instrumental in helping surgeons to perform intricate and more complex surgeries within a short time. It will also be less painful with minimal scarring. Currently, robotic surgery is mainly performed by cardiothoracic surgeons, urologists and gynecological surgeons. Once it is fully adopted as a surgical procedure, it will encompass other aspects such as:
- Telesurgery and telementoring: This will facilitate surgical performance and assistance from remote locations.
- Telepresence: This will enable clinicians and surgeons to interact with their patients from remote locations. While having the patients’ record library, they will be able to make informed decisions just as if they were in the patient’s room.
- Remote ICU Monitoring: This will enable the clinician to monitor the patient’s waveforms and records using a wireless device such as a handheld PDA.
- Haptic Feedback: The development will help to restore some sense of touch to a surgeon which is either lacking or diminished in the Minimally Invasive Surgery.
Accurate Use of Technology in Diagnosing Diseased Tissues
Historically, surgeons exclusively relied on their surgical expertise and eyes to identify diseased tissues that may need to be removed. However, with the new fluorescent imaging technology, diagnosing a diseased tissue is going to be much easier. For instance, it can show the surgeon how much of a patient’s kidney is cancerous enabling him/her to remove that part of the organ or tissue that is infected.
During the procedure, a special dye is injected into the patient’s bloodstream. The dye is able to highlight the cancerous sections of a tissue. The surgeon then uses a special type of night-vision googles to locate highlighted tumors. He or she can easily remove them and preserve those parts of the tissue that are still healthy. Currently fluorescent imaging is mainly used by radiologists in identifying intestinal bleeding points and lymph nodes in cases of breast cancer.
The future of surgery is quite bright. Precisely, by the year 2035 we should expect virtual or remote surgeons who use high tech equipment to perform more advanced and efficient surgical operations.