Top 4 Surgical Advances Our Hospitals Should Know About
Written by Tristan Anwyn
Top 4 Surgical Advances Our Hospitals Should Know About
Surgery is an ever-changing field. Keeping abreast of these advances is a vital part of offering the most up to date care to patients across all disciplines.
Which surgical fields have made interesting advances that you should know about lately?
Here are some of the most up to date surgery developments.
Hip replacements are one of the most common orthopedic surgery procedures today. A hip replacement can make a huge difference to the mobility and quality of life of the patient in question.
Advances in surgical and imaging techniques are allowing surgeons to streamline the procedure, with the potential for less pain and a faster recovery.
A traditional hip replacement involves making a 10 or even 12 inch incision before removing the affected hip joint and inserting the replacement joint. A typical hospital stay is four or five days.
Minimally invasive hip replacements involve one or two smaller incisions (about three inches) and often take advantage of the most up to date surgical imaging techniques to help with placement of the new joint.
So far, the procedure has shown a shorter recovery time – patients can go home in a day or two – and less damage to the surrounding muscles.
Heart Bypass Surgery
This life saving procedure usually requires that the heart be stopped and the patient placed on a heart-lung machine in order to keep their blood flowing.
Although they are a necessary part of traditional heart bypass surgery, these machines can lead to complications, including strokes, seizures, and blood loss.
Advances in the field of cardiac surgery have led to the development of a heart bypass procedure which can be carried out on a heart which is still beating. This negates the need for a heart-lung machine. In addition, the incision that is needed for the surgery is considerably smaller than that needed for the traditional operation.
Patients who have a minimally invasive bypass can generally expect a faster recovery time and shorter stay, along with a reduced infection risk and less blood loss.
Hospitals are currently looking into whether minimally invasive surgery may make heart bypass a viable option for patients who are not considered well enough for a traditional bypass.
For patients afflicted with stomach cancer, a gastrectomy (stomach removal) can be a necessary step in removing the cancer and enabling them to return to live a healthy life.
The surgery is usually performed through a relatively large incision, and may involve a hospital stay of several days with a long recovery period. A new technique, called laparoscopic gastrectomy, has shown promising results in terms of recovery times and length of stay.
During a laparoscopic gastrectomy, the surgeon no longer has to open a large incision to remove the stomach, but can use a laparoscope – a tiny camera attached to a long tube which is inserted into the patient's mouth. The surgeon can control the movement of the laparoscope, allowing him to see where he is going.
Although laparoscopic surgery can take longer to perform, patients may find they need less pain relief, suffer less complications, and can return home sooner than they would after a traditional gastrectomy.
Spinal surgery traditionally involves the making of a five or six inch incision, to allow the surgeon to access the area of the spine that requires treatment. The subsequent pulling back of the muscles can weaken the area and lead to a long recovery time for patients.
Recent advances in spinal surgery techniques have led to the development of a much less invasive way of getting to the spine.
Instead of opening a long incision, a smaller instrument called a tubular retractor is used to open a tunnel through the soft tissues to the affected part of the spine. Small instruments can then be used to operate on the area in question.
This less invasive surgery can mean less postoperative pain and a shorter hospital stay for patients.
There are many advances being made in the surgical fields today.
There are common themes emerging across fields - a focus on less invasive surgeries, and a reduction in the length of stay and amount of postoperative pain.
Keeping up to date with these advances will help your hospital to offer patients the latest and best procedures available today.
About the Author
Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, marketing, best paying careers today, and SEO.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”