Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cuts Like A Knife, But It Sure Feels Right ~by Dr. B.

It is not your ordinary knife but a life saving tool.  No, not switch blades which are surprisingly legal in many states. LINK. This is a knife that surgeons may be able to use to avoid removing noncancerous tissue.  Stated differently, this English surgical knife can help surgeons make sure they have removed all cancerous tissue without harming normal tissue. Specifically, the knife heats tissue as the surgeon excises the diseased area producing a sharp-smelling smoke. The English surgical knife analyzes the smoke and indicates whether the tissue is cancerous or healthy. This knife may avoid the 30 minute delay typically associated with a surgeon having to send the tissue to a lab and waiting for the results.

Dr. Zoltan Takats of Imperial College London designed the English ‘‘smart’’ knife hooked up to a refrigerator-sized mass spectrometry device on wheels that analyzes the smoke as he cauterizes tissue.
The smoke is then compared to a library of smoke ‘‘signatures’’ from cancerous and noncancerous tissue. A computer monitor displays green for healthy tissue and red for cancerous.  The new knife and its monitoring equipment cost about $380,000 U.S.D. The new tool resembles a fat white pen. It will likely be submitted for regulatory approval after more studies are concluded.

If this knife can definitively tell doctors whether they've removed all the cancerous tissue, patients all over the world may benefit. Only additional tests will provide the answer. In the meantime, expect smart knives to join the ranks of smart phones as a part of everyday life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What will they think of next?