Surgical technologists, also called “scrubs” or “operating room technicians,” assist in surgeries under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses or other surgical personnel. Surgical technologists are members of operating room teams, which most commonly include surgeons, anesthesiologists and circulating nurses. Before an operation, surgical technologists help prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment, sterile drapes, and sterile solutions. They assemble both sterile and nonsterile equipment and ensure it’s working properly.
A part of being a surgical tech is to aid the surgeon by preparing patients for surgery by washing, clipping and disinfecting incision sites. But there are new technologies that are making this easier for the technicians.
The most critical part of surgery is being able to identify and properly fix the tiniest issues in the human body. Advances in technology are doing just that — revolutionizing the way surgeons are operating on patients by allowing them to see and do things they couldn’t before. Gathered here are 10 of the latest surgical technologies that are helping patients all over the world in a faster and more efficient way.
1. 3D Printing
The 3D printing technology uses digital models of a patient’s anatomy to construct a “printed” customized implant in almost any material. 3D printing has already been used for spine surgery, knee replacement surgery, skin grafts and even blood recycling. This technology is also giving surgical tech students something to practice on before doing the real thing.
2. Oculus Rift
While the Oculus Rift was initially created as technology to revolutionize the way people experience video games, it seems as if it’s medical students who could benefit the most from the virtual reality headsets. The Oculus Rift essentially uses virtual reality to improve surgical training by putting the trainee in the shoes of the surgeon. Here you can watch a YouTube video of the very first operation using this technology.
3. Flight Simulator Technology
The surgical simulator, called Surgical Rehearsal Platform (SRP) uploads and transforms medical images, such as CT and MRI scans of patients, into life-like, dynamic and interactive 3D models. SRP lets surgeons view and interact with brain images of their patients to plan and rehearse surgeries with an accurate replica of what they would see and use during an actual procedure while using the same tools that they would use in surgery.
Robotic surgery is a method to perform surgery using very small tools attached to a robotic arm. The surgeon controls the robotic arm with a computer.
5. Nerve Monitoring Systems
These systems help surgeons reduce the risk of nerve damage during various ENT and general surgery procedures, such as removing tumors from the ear or thyroid. Such devices enable surgeons to identify, confirm, and monitor motor nerve function, providing visual and audible feedback.
6. Tissue Dissection Devices
Tissue dissection devices offer the precision of a scalpel and the bleeding control of traditional electrosurgery without extensive collateral thermal damage. They are used in plastic/reconstructive, electrophysiology, orthopaedic, ENT and general surgery procedures.
7. Sound Waves
A new ultrasound device, used in conjunction with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), allows neurosurgeons to precisely burn out small pieces of malfunctioning brain tissue without cutting the skin or opening the skull.
A new cancer treatment is now available in North America that offers an alternative cancer surgery, without the incision or hospital stay, treating patients in 15 minutes or less and returning them to their everyday lives.
9. Google Glass
In the first case of its kind, a Chinese surgeon used a Google Glass device to broadcast orthopedic surgery live, with the procedure watched by foreign colleagues in Asia and Europe on mobile phones and tablets. Talks are also forming around the idea of using Google Glass during actual surgery.
10. Topological Optimization (For Reconstructive Surgery)
This technique uses complex algorithms to conjure up a shape that best satisfies a set of structural constraints: it fits into a prescribed space; makes allowances for movement; withstands expected loads; and does all this using the least amount of material. In other words, it is ideally suited to take on the challenge of recreating the intricate stress-prone, cavity-filled patchwork of facial bones interspersed with blood vessels and nerves.