Computer Technology Transforming Healthcare

Computer Assisted Surgery aims to improve patient care by the utilization of computer based technologies during the procedure; to amplify the benefits; to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration between engineers and physicians in developing new concepts and applications. The scope of Computer Assisted Surgery encompasses all major fields within surgery, as well as biomedical imaging and instrumentation, and digital technology employed as a supplement to imaging in diagnosis, therapeutics, and surgery.
Surgical Precision
Surgery is a distressing experience at best. Medical robotics and CAS (Computer Assisted Surgery) helps alleviate the problem. They have been used in a wide variety of fields from head and neck to urologic surgery. They provide greater reach and flexibility, smaller incisions made with more precision which is enough to access the targeted anatomy. This results in more accurate pre-operative planning, reduction of operating time, avoiding damage to healthy tissues, exact alignment of surgical instruments with anatomy and faster patient recovery. It’s an established fact about the benefit of these technologies & ever increasing uses support the fact.
In recent years there has been a definite shift to the use of minimally-invasive techniques, performed by steering surgical tools through small incisions in the patient’s skin in order to minimize blood loss and soft tissue damage, and consequently, reduce postoperative pain and recovery time.
There are CAS technologies which work on CT/MRI images of patient to guide in real time. These are used mostly in Brain, ENT & Spine surgeries. Some CAS technologies which uses ultrasound are being used in soft tissue biopsies for liver, lungs & breasts. Also there are technologies which are image-less. These are used in Knee, Hip implants surgeries.
These technologies made the complex surgeries safer & less pain full. Now for e.g. in brain surgeries surgeons can plan the surgery on computer generated 3D model of the patient by marking areas of interest & danger areas. During surgery system then guides the surgeon to reach area of interest & alerting the surgeon if he is operating near any danger region. It gives confidence to the surgeon on more aggressive on the tumor & still gentle to any critical part of the brain following the shortest and safest path. Medical robots are also getting developed to perform various part of brain surgery to take the brain surgery to next dimension.
Similarly in the spine surgery the misplacement of spine screw is quite common. Misplaced screw can cause permanent damage to nervous system. With the help of CAS rate of misplacement has been significantly reduced make it safer for the patients. Various standard reviews have bespoken the superiority of CAS technique compared to others for pedicle screw placement. Accuracy rates of around 95% are commonly reported with CAS which is quite high when compared to free-hand techniques. Also it helps to reduce the harmful X-ray radiation dosage for operating team and the patient.
Robotic surgeries are growing at very rapid rate. Robots are performing surgeries which require dexterity which can’t be achieved by human hand. They have tiny wristed instruments which can bend and rotate more than the human hands providing greater reach through smaller incision.
Augment Reality
The recent emerging role and integration of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in healthcare is transforming this data rich field and justify consideration for future applications to enhance the surgical experience. For e.g. a new technology which augments X-ray vision on the real patient anatomy to help surgeon plan and execute the operation effectively. It’s like a superman viewing through the skin of patient.
Growing Market
The world-wide robotic surgery & CAS market is expected to reach USD 20.8 billion by 2024 as per a market research, report. The ubiquity of chronic disorders around the globe is on a rise. These diseases hence need surgery for the treatment solution. CAS & Robotic surgeries for these cases provides minimally invasive approach, fewer complications, faster recovery, lower pain and blood loss, thereby propelling the demand over the forecast period.
Computer assisted technologies are rising & becoming standard of care. Lot of innovations are happening. Future looks promising once these technologies reaches to masses & make everyone benefitted from them.
About the Author
With more than 10 years of cumulative experience in surgical navigation system R&D, clinical and marketing & sales, Arpit Paliwal is the challenge loving Founder of HRS Navigation, who has done executive program in sales & marketing from IIM Calcutta. He was managing the navigation business for all India as part of the Stryker (Fortune 500), where they were already developing the navigation system back in 2007. It was during his tenure that he came across various hospitals for computer assisted surgeries & realized the need for simple, affordable navigation solution. Arpit has also been awarded with the Annual Product Performance Award for navigation and for bringing around the navigation business in India.

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