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ROBOTICS: THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE
It’s hard to image the future without robots.
Think of any sci-fi movie or TV show and chances are you will find robots making the lives of the future humans of earth easier.
You don’t need a teleport device to take you to the future because robots capable of incredible — almost futuristic functions — are already here, helping our nation’s doctors provide out of this world care.
“Robotics is revolutionizing the health care industry,” said Michael Martirano, M.D., medical director of Elmhurst Memorial Hospital’s robotic surgery program in Chicago. “Thanks to innovative technologies, we have the ability to improve the quality of patient care and make it more sustainable and affordable.”
Here are five robots and other cool technologies that are true life savers:
*320 Slice CT Scanner
This 4,400-pound device can measure subtle changes in blood flow or minute blockages forming in blood vessels no bigger than the average width of a toothpick (1.5 millimeters) in the heart and brain.
The big advantage over other imaging technologies, researchers say, is that the 320-CT can, in 1 second or less, image “slices” as big as 16 centimeters (6.3 inches), which is wide enough to capture most of the body’s organs, making it easier and faster for physicians to locate any blood flow issues.
*Brainlab Neuronavigation System
The Brainlab neuronavigation system is helping surgeons identify the right approach before making an incision.
Since neuronavigation tracks tools in real time and displays their position on in relation to the patient data, surgeons are guided through procedures, helping to keep skull openings small and minimize damage to healthy structures.
“CyberKnife treatment involves no incisions, no sedation and no overnight hospital stay, making this robot very effective in treating patients with tumors in difficult to reach places,” said Andy Su, M.D., radiation oncologist with nuclear oncology at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital. “Tumors are treated with very precise, high-dose radiation beams while radiation exposure to healthy tissue surrounding a tumor is minimized. Side effects, if any, are minimal, and patients return to normal activity immediately following treatment.”
CyberKnife Miami recently celebrated its 3,000 patient treated with CyberKnife technology.
*Da Vinci Surgical System
The da Vinci Surgical System uses breakthrough technology to offer a minimally invasive alternative for many complex surgical procedures.
“The most amazing thing about this robot is that it allows surgeons to insert miniature instruments and a tiny high-definition 3-D camera through a series of quarter-inch incisions,” Martirano said. “Because this technology uses fewer, smaller incisions, patients benefit from significantly less post-operative pain, less blood loss, less scarring, shorter recovery time and a faster return to their normal daily activities.”
*Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy
Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy, often called ENB, allows a physician to evaluate a patient’s lungs and navigate through small airway passages. This is helpful for diagnosing or treating a lung nodule that is in an area of a lung that would make traditional procedures, such as bronchoscopy or surgery, too risky.
Similar to GPS-like technology, ENB guides the physician through the patient’s natural airways in regions of the lung that are not reachable with traditional bronchoscopy. Until now, physicians have relied on needle biopsy or surgery to take tissue samples — both of which can cause complications.
“Robotics is the future of healthcare,” Su said.
Shauna Schuda wrote this column for Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare