This week we will see the world’s first “zero gravity” surgery. The test-run won’t actually take place in space, however, but rather in a plane that performs a series of parabolas that simulate a weightless environment. The goal is to understand the requirements of surgery in microgravity in order to develop surgical space-robots. Here’s an excerpt from the AFP report:
Harnessed to the walls, their surgical tools moored down with magnets, a team of French doctors are Wednesday to attempt the world’s first human operation in zero-gravity, as a test run for performing surgery in space.
Working inside a custom-made operating block, three surgeons, backed by two anaesthetists and a team of army parachutists, will remove a fatty tumour from the forearm of an intrepid volunteer over the course of a three-hour flight on Wednesday.
Miniature surgical tools, held in place with magnets positioned around the patient’s stretcher, will be used to adapt to the reduced size of the operating theatre, which was designed by a French elevator manufacturer.
The European space plane, a specially-adapted Airbus A300 operated out of Bordeaux, flies in a series of roller-coaster like parabolas, creating between 20 and 22 seconds of weightlessness at the top of the curve, a process repeated around 30 times for a three-hour flight.
It has to be tough to perform a surgery in a series of 20 second intervals, but masochism isn’t unknown in the world of surgery.
You can check out the article here…
Image courtesy of CNN