WHAT IS SURGERY?
Again, Mr Wiki says, “Surgery is an ancient medical specialty that uses operative manual and instrumental techniques on a patient to investigate and/or treat a pathological condition such as disease or injury, or to help improve bodily function or appearance.” It includes many subspecialties, including vascular surgery, cardiovascualar surgery, general surgery, urologic surgery, et al.
One would think that surgery, a discipline of not only diagnostic skills, but one of acute, manuel dexterity would not be impacted by changes in interent technology, but that is not the case. Robotic surgery has definitely found a place, and will undoubtedly grow in the coming years. The precisely-controlled micromovements are aided by computerization, and the imaging of the operating field is magnified as much as twelve times. The Da Vinci Robotic Surgery System, as the most popular system is named, will take time to be more fully integrated into general surgery, but has definitely found a place. One example of how this system can improve the skills of surgery is the Pro Pep nerve identifier, which identifies nerves during surgery, and is an accessory to the Da Vinci System. This system is not widely available, and will take time, since many surgeons did not train with type of technology, but there are hosptial and universities, such as Methodist Hospital in Houston, which are offering hands-on courses in learning this new technology.
IMPROVEMENTS IN DIGITAL IMAGING AIDING SURGEONS
As in other medical specialties, the profound improvments in imaging has impacted surgery. Large digital iPads can adorn the wall of a surgical suite, allowing a surgeon to view images, patient data, or communicate with other surgeons, pathologists, or radiologists, in real-time, without breaking scrub. Currently, there is research which will allow the surgeon to manipulate images on the huge screen with a wave of the hand.
Also, there are improvements with intraoperative needle biopsies and ablations, by essentially, setting up a “GPS” system on the needles, so that the surgeon can more accurately envision the anatomy and placement. This is an important area of surgery to make improvements, since there are a great number of malpractices suits involving this procedure.
New York Presbyterian Hosptial has just installed four state-of-the-art surgical suites, with the latest developming of Internet Medicine, including imaging. Each of the suite contains large video screens, for the above-mentioned uses. See the following video, which explains the reasons why surgeons feel this may be an improvement in surgery. (and, for a Virtual Tour, go HERE)
Overall, there are not that many surgical blogs, perhaps due to the long hours worked by the surgeon. The blogs of the surgical subspecialties remains to be seen, and we hope to address that area of Surgical Internet Medicine in the future.
There are, however, some fantastic surgical information sites on the web. Of special note is the site www.surgical-tutor.org.uk, which is fantastic source of all things surgical, including tutorialis, videos, forums, etc.