Our friends at Vector, the medical technology blog from Children’s Hospital Boston, wrote a neat piece about what you get when you pair up a Boston University engineer and a Children’s Hospital Boston cardiac surgeon. The latter had a vision of one day performing heart surgery without cracking open the chest and placing the patient on cardiopulmonary bypass. The engineer wanted to make a new high-tech surgical robot.
The result was not only a new surgical robot specially designed to negotiate around delicate heart structures, but also a number of millimeter-scale medical tools, including a suture substitute with a ratcheting feature for tightening, a rotary-type device for shaving off a surface layer, and a similar drill-like device for milling holes in tissue (we took a look at these devices last year at TEDMED).
Dr. Pedro del Nido, chief of Cardiac Surgery at Children’s Hospital Boston, thinks these devices could change the way invasive surgery is done. “This device provides a mechanism for doing what the surgeon does in an open procedure,” he says. “It could enable physicians to perform tissue reconstruction operations without having to open a cavity surgically, whether that be the chest, abdomen, or the brain.”
He sees a lot of potential applications for the device, including neurosurgery and fetal surgery. But he and Pierre Dupont, the engineering half of the team, know there’s also a lot of work to be done to find a growing target market and develop the technology for it, and to get the devices approved by the FDA. But guessing from the success they’ve had together so far, we’ll probably be seeing these devices on the market in the not-so-distant future.
Article @ Vector: Beating-heart surgery and the search for a killer app…
TEDMED Flashback: Catheter-Based Microrobotic Vascular Surgery System from Boston Children’s