Surgical innovation hit a milestone in the month of May, with surgeons using a robot to operate inside the human eye and a colorectal surgical platform getting the FDA go-ahead to be introduced to the market. In addition, we also explored the security implications of these innovations through a recently released survey of device manufacturers.
A Medical First
Surgery on the eye is such a delicate procedure that even the most proficient surgeons can cause hemorrhaging and scarring when cutting too deep into the eye. This can lead to patients possibly experiencing other forms of visual impairment.
That’s why Dr. Robert E. MacLaren, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Oxford, led the study team that performed a membrane-removal surgery on twelve patients; six of them underwent the traditional non-robotic procedure, while the other six underwent the new robotic technique.
The end result showed those patients who received the robotic procedure endured significantly fewer hemorrhages and less damage to the retina. This technology is still in its early stages, but its ability to safely operate under the retina could lead to developments of genetic and stem cell treatments for retinal disease.
Colorectal Treatments Could be Less Intrusive
Medrobotics received the approval from the FDA to market its Flex Robotic System, a robot-assisted surgical platform for colorectal procedures. The device will give surgeons nonlinear access to hard-to-reach areas. Traditionally, doctors used straight instruments that aren’t feasible for every occasion.
With the human gastrointestinal system being full of twists and turns, this flexible surgical platform will allow surgeons to simply use a controller to navigate. As robotic technology continues to develop, we will need to see more innovative strategies like these to keep up with the trends.
Upping the Security and Creating Possibilities
Budget woes and lack of confidence are bringing the security of internet-based medical devices under scrutiny. Fortunately, many medical devices and tools are not internet-based; reducing the ability to be hacked. When a medical device suffers a hack, hospitals are caught in a massive storm of risks. Luckily, hospitals and medical device companies have started to change the way they handle their security.
According to a recent report, "only nine percent of manufacturers and five percent of users say they test medical devices at least annually.” While this may look grim, there are measures being put in place every day to ensure both the safety and security of new medical devices as they hit the market. Rather than not providing any security until after a hacking occurs, hospitals and medical device companies are being proactive in the prevention of hacking. There will likely be a positive shift in data encryption of devices in the next few years. This improvement in security and increase in responsiblity will allow for more opportunities in the job market and a decrease in hacking risks.
We continue to keep a close pulse on all medical news happening in the healthcare industry. Comment below if you’ve spotted any other innovations you think we should know about, or hit the contact button to set up a time to see some developments in action at our facility.