Brain surgery to reduce to two minutes thanks to a new robotic drill

According to scientists, the drill can perform a certain type of complex cranial surgery 50 times faster than its common practice.
By Chad Young | May 04, 2017
A robotic drill could revolutionize surgery.

The drill could help reduce the amount of time for a routine brain surgery from two hours to two-and-a-half minutes.

Developers believe the computer-driven gadget, which functions like 'Google Maps,' could be pivotal for future surgical procedures.

According to scientists, the drill can perform a certain type of complex cranial surgery 50 times faster than its common practice.

Researchers claim the drill produces fast, clean, and safe cuts, reducing the time the wound is open, and the patient is under anesthesia. This reduces the chances of infection, the cost of surgery, and human error.

In complex surgeries such as cranial ones, surgeons typically use hand drills to make sensitive openings. This approach adds hours to a procedure.

The drill is being developed at the University of Utah.

And according to Dr. William Couldwell, a neurosurgeon at the University, existing procedures were slow.

"It was like doing archaeology. We had to slowly take away the bone to avoid sensitive structures," Dr. Couldwell said.

Dr. Couldwell realized there was a need for a device that could ease his burden and make surgery more efficient.

According to Couldwell, the researchers knew the technology was already available in the machine world, but no one had applied it to medical applications.

Dr. A.K Balaji, an assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering who also worked on the project, said that his expertise is in dealing with the quick removal of metal, so a neurosurgical drill was a new concept for him.

"I was interested in developing a low-cost drill that could do a lot of the grunt work to reduce a surgeon's fatigue," Dr. Balaji said.

The scientists developed the drill from scratch to meet the needs of the neurosurgical team, as well as develop software that sets a safe cutting path.

 

 

---

Have something to say? Let us know in the comments section or send an email to the author. You can share ideas for stories by contacting us here.

Comments
Comments should take into account that readers may hold different opinions. With that in mind, please make sure comments are respectful, insightful, and remain focused on the article topic.