Monday March 25, 2019
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Surgical bots to be ubiquitous in Indian hosps


By NewsGram Staff-Writer


Chennai: Days are not far off when surgical robots will become a normal feature in hospitals for procedures like MRI scans, a senior official of Intuitive Surgical Inc. said on Sunday.

The US-based Intuitive Surgical makes surgical robots that enable minimally invasive surgeries with its da Vinci surgical systems. The primary surgical domains are urology, gynaecology, general surgery and cardiothoracic.

Jeroen MM van Heesewijk, senior vice president, Asia Pacific and Global Distribution said,”In India, we are infants in the technology adoption curve. Today a hospital without a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan machine is considered as a clinic.”

“Offering robotic surgeries will also give a boost to the countries medical tourism sector,” Mahendra Bhandari, CEO, Vattikuti Foundation, added while talking over the issue. Both were at Kochi to attend a two-day seminar on robotic surgery organised by Vattikuti Foundation.

According to van Heesewijk, India, China and Brazil, are important markets for Intuitive Surgical procedures. A total of 26 da Vinci systems are in operation in India at various hospitals. In India, Vattikuti Technologies is sole distributor and van Heesewijk said the company is not planning to go direct-selling directly to hospitals in India.

Van Heesewijk welcomed the tie-up between Google Inc. and Johnson & Johnson to work in the field of surgical robotics. According to him, the fact that two global players with deep pockets getting into robotics is a clear indication that robotic surgery segment will get a big boost.

Meanwhile, the Vattikuti Foundation is planning to increase the number of surgeons trained on robotic surgical systems to 300. Bhandari informed, “Presently, there are 147 surgeons trained in robotic surgeries in India. They do 300-400 robotic surgeries. Our target is to increase the surgeons trained in robotic surgeries to 300 by 2020.” According to him, when the foundation was started in 2009-10 there were only five or six surgeons trained to carry out robotic surgeries.

Queried whether the foundation would train surgeons only on da Vinci systems distributed in India, he said: “Intuitive Surgical is the market leader.” Bhandari said once a surgeon is trained, training him in other systems is not a big issue.”

On the advantages of robotic surgeries, he said the incision will be small and the loss of blood will be very minimal. He said the recovery of the patient is faster and the post-operative pain will also be less.

According to Bhandari, robotic procedures in India that cover a wide spectrum of procedures -cardiac, urology, general surgery, thoracic, gynaecology, head and neck, vascular and paediatrics – are expected to cross the 6,000 procedures mark in 2015.

With Inputs from IANS

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Missouri University Sets On a Mission To Make a Better MRIs

The researchers estimate the Heart Speed technology will be available for clinical use within five years.

MRI Scans
Making MRI scanners faster has several benefits, including increased access to these devices for patients. Pixabay

MRI scans help doctors diagnose diseases or injuries without radiation. MRI technology uses powerful magnets, radio waves and a computer to make detailed pictures inside the body.

This is especially important for heart patients. With an MRI, doctors can check to see if blood vessels are blocked. They can also check for heart damage after a heart attack.

The downside is that patients must lie motionless in a long tube for a long period of time, which is especially challenging for people with claustrophobia.

University of Missouri School of Medicine researcher Dr. Talissa Altes says the procedure can be very difficult for some patients.

“It can be very hard. It can be very tiring, and they are often very long exams. We schedule them in 90 minute, an hour and a half, slots, which if you have ever been in an MR scanner, that is a long time,” Altes said.

In order to get a clear picture, patients must hold their breath, over and over.

“In general, an MRI takes a long time to acquire a single image, and if you are moving during the acquisition of that image, you will get blurring,” said Robert Thomen, another researcher on the University of Missouri School of Medicine team.

Thoman and Altes are working on a project called Heart Speed. With Heart Speed, data analysis software pulls out motion information from the magnetic resonance images. Their colleague, Steve Van Doren, says Heart Speed would allow radiologists to see the heart clearly even if a patient is breathing normally.

Brain tumours can be confused with harmless bright spots, it has never been clear whether finding these abnormalities via MRI should be a cause for concern. Wikimedia Commons

“We found that we could separate breathing motion from the heart motion quite well using the software, and we thought we should try to start applying this to real patient data,” Van Doren said.

The goal? A more comfortable scan for patients who can breathe at a normal pace. Without repeated breath holds, scans would also be much shorter — just 15 to 30 minutes.

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“Patients will benefit because it will be easier for them to do the exam,” Altes said, adding that “hopefully the radiologist who reads it or the cardiologist who reads the MRI will benefit because the images will be much better.”

The researchers estimate the Heart Speed technology will be available for clinical use within five years. (VOA)