New medical technology
Dr. Garnette Sutherland of the University of Calgary working with a group of scientists from other fields including physics, robotics, software, optics, mechanical engineering, medicine, and surgery to develop NeuroArm, a robot designed to assist in neurosurgical procedures and operations. The robot is the first Magnetic Resonance Imaging MRI-complaint machine of its kind to be developed for use as an improvement strategy to reduce surgical errors and minimize the concomitant complications of delicate neurosurgical procedures. The first patient is being prepared for summer, and the machine is currently undergoing trials.
The machine is described as a ‘milestone in medical technology’. It is operated via a computer work station directed by the operating surgeon, and he is able to work under microscopic scale. Dr Garnette’s desire is that “the neuroArm technology to be translated into the global community, i.e. hospitals around the world,”
Scientifically, the machine is under trials and the first patient is being prepared for this summer. The input of the Seaman Company that supported the project, and the technological facilities required for the design brings the likelihood that it would definitely work. Besides, the team has been noted for noble inventions in medical engineering.
Clinically, it has the potency to reduce the surgical errors of surgeons and performs optimally at microscopic levels. This however can not replace the ingenuity of the human mind, unreliability of a medical technology which can collapse at any time, the dynamic human response to salvage emergencies and a host of other pre-, intra- and post-operative factors which would be difficult for a mere machine to handle.
It is obvious what the economic implications can be. In a country where the Iron triangle of health [cost, quality and access] has become subjects of debates because of high costs of health and insurance facilities, introduction of robot surgery can be disheartening. One need not mention what its impact can be on developing countries who can rarely afford essential drugs! Its impact on the society can be stimulating but patronage would definitely be affected by cultural reservations and costs.
The reimbursement of the technology can best be left in the hand of government in partnership with insurers and the patients.
Robot to Help Neurosurgery