UK surgeons are the first to operate in 3D
A team at Manchester Royal Infirmary hospital, England, claim to be the first surgeons to perform keyhole surgery using 3D cameras and monitors — and embarrassingly clunky spectacles. Furthermore, if that wasn’t high-tech enough, the lead surgeon also performed the surgery using a hand-held robotic claw.
3D vision during surgery makes perfect sense: After all, your anatomy is three-dimensional, and when you’re making minute incisions with a foot-long instrument, through an entry hole that’s just an inch long, depth perception is obviously a huge boon. According to spokeswoman from the hospital, the 3D approach provides much better accuracy, “therefore reducing the risks of muscle and nerve damage.” The same spokesperson also said that the 3D projection would reduce surgeon fatigue, presumably because trying to make sense of a 2D image for hours on end is incredibly strenuous.
Unfortunately we don’t have any specific details on how the Royal Infirmary pulled off the 3D surgery, but judging by the tiny picture published by the BBC (right), it looks like the surgeons are wearing standard polarizing, passive 3D glasses. Presumably, instead of a laparoscope with a single camera on the end being pushed inside the patient, there’s simply two of them, just like normal 3D cinematography.
The robot claw, which has the full name of the Kymerax precision-drive articulating surgical system (pictured right), is probably a more exciting development. Basically, your wrist is very limber as far as human musculoskeletal system goes — but not when compared to a robot with more ball joints and axes of motion than you can shake a stick at. Again, details of the Kymerax system are scarce, but as far as we can tell it’s a keyhole (laparoscopic), motorized device that provides haptic feedback to the surgeon. The use of robotic and motorized equipment during surgery isn’t a new idea — these machines have been used to stabilize shaky hands for years — but apparently the Kymerax is a lot cheaper than existing solutions.