The Role of Physics and Engineering in Surgery

INTRODUCTION

The Lancet commission on global surgery estimates that about one third of global disease burden is surgical. Many innovations like discovery of anesthesia, antisepsis helped surgeries take a giant leap in offering dramatic increase in number and usefulness of the procedures in curing surgical conditions. The most recent such innovation is the minimally invasive surgeries. It is now left to Physics and Engineering to open up new Horizons.

THE PAIN

Unlike the earlier innovations the market penetration of the minimally invasive surgeries was not very significant. The poor one third of the World receives less than 6% of the total number of surgeries that are carried out. With surgical procedures we are able to deal only with the macroscopic disease and that too we know only about the anatomy and very little about the physiological problems associated with surgical disease. In other words at surgery we do not know about the functioning or nonfunctioning areas of the organs just by looking at it. It is difficult to macroscopically know the extent of the microscopic disease especially the cancers.

THE TRENDS

The current trend everywhere is towards minimally invasive procedures and remote controlled procedures. With the former the recovery is rapid and pain is less so that patients can get back to productive work soon. With the remote controls the problem of lack of surgical workforce in rural and remote areas could be solved.

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