Medical technology is advancing in many amazing ways today. Surgery, prosthetics, and cardiac medicines are just a few areas seeing amazing advances in 2015. Here is a short list of things to look forward to in the coming months as the medical field of technology grows.
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Robotic surgery is a relatively new procedure. Though systems were developed as far back as 1985, the FDA did not approve any for general use until 2000. Since then use of surgical robots has grown, surging over the last five years. It is widely used for procedures in urology and gynecology and for procedures involving the heart and lungs, liver, and gall bladder, and general surgical procedures. It is especially beneficial for surgeries such as prostate cancer. International HIFU use high intensity focused ultrasounds to detect prostate cancer and help diagnose other cancers. All of those uses are amazing, but where robotic surgery may truly shine is in remote medicine. The surgeon does not have to be in the same room, building, or even on the same continent as the robot. As network speeds and reliability increase, long distance real time control makes long distance surgery possible.
Paralyzed No More
The Bionic Man predicted we would be able to create new limbs that worked better than the originals. Today doctors and scientists are doing that, and something even more incredible. They are finding ways to bypass damaged nerves using chips called neurobridges. Using a neurobridge chip, doctors are helping people use their own arms and legs the way they did before – they think about what they want to do and their limbs respond. This technology is still experimental, a similar technology, exoskeletons, is starting to see use in the real world. Directed by the wearer’s thoughts, an external suit moves paralyzed arms and/or legs. The exoskeletons don’t provide the full mobility seen in movies yet, but the technology is advancing at amazing speed.
Exoskeleton video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcM0ruq28dc
Mobile Stroke Units
Speed is critical when treating strokes and traditional ambulances don’t have the necessary equipment to fully diagnose and treat a stroke. The Mobile stroke unit has everything needed, to tell if the patient is having a stroke, whether it is caused by a clot or hemorrhage, and test blood samples. CT scans are sent over high speed wireless connections to the hospital where a neuroradiologist interprets them in real time, determines the best treatment, and instruct the paramedics. The patient receives treatment as soon as possible, which is critical for the best chance at full recovery. A few years ago the technology did not exist for mobile stroke units. They are so new, that only two are currently in use in the U.S.
Medical advances happen every day – so do advances in technology. But when medicine and technology advance together, the results are truly amazing. This year there is a lot to look forward to in medicine and technology.
By Brooke Chaplan