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Digitalization, the key to progress in surgical medicine

13 June, 2019
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In the present digital age, technology, digitalization and health are concepts that are ever closer and destined to converge.


If we analyze advances in modern medicine and the speed at which they occur, we realize that we now have highly innovative ways of treating the human body that were unimaginable before.

One of the many examples is neuronavigaiton, where a combination of a receiving antenna, reference markers in surgical instruments and powerful software can locate the exact position -and even the depth inside a cavity- of a tissue, formation or borne to be treated, even before making an incision. For example, it is possible to make a total or partial excision of a tumour using radiotherapy without even opening the patient and thus avoiding damage to healthy tissue.

Although we associate the invention of new equipment with advances in medicine, and particularly in surgery, the surprising thing is that the greatest progress comes from the evolution of computer programs that manage the processes. This is the claim of Harold Fraile, a specialist in medical equipment technology in Dominion 360°.

Indeed, the new technologies now allow us to plan, deal with and record, for example, a surgical procedure, as well as improving the know-how and experience of the medical team.

These advances allow us to exploit the enormous amount of data generated during a patient’s clinical experience. The data, images or conclusions that were previously stored away in a clinical record are now merged and mutually complemented to create high-value sources of information for medical practitioners. This not only saves time in carrying out processes, it empowers both the skills of the practitioner and the capabilities of the specialized medial equipment.

Particularly in surgery, as well as in other areas of medicine, the new medical technologies provide greater efficiency and better performance. Before undertaking surgery, a series of protocols are followed such as the clinical planning for what one expects to find or the particular procedure to be used (excision, destruction, reconstruction, etc.). The new digital tools are a key factor in taking decisions before starting a procedure.

We can, therefore, say that the new technologies play a major role in the planning of surgery, and they gradually enable the incorporation of graphic and intuitive tools that quickly combine images from different image capture technologies (ultrasound, magnetic resonance, X-ray, computerized tomography, etc.).

The new integrated systems also allow an analysis to made based on an integrated virtual image. This allows the practitioner to see all the available information concentrated in a single visor, removing the need to analyze and study each element individually.

 

Taking this combination a step further, it is even possible to construct a personalized anatomic atlas for each patient, creating a virtual representation of the area to be operated on and vizualizing it, for example, by layers (muscular, bone or nerve, among others).

 

Complementing these advances and innovation, as Harold Fraile says, this prior planning can be consulted by the team of surgeons while the operation is taking place, superimposing images and other variables in real time with the aim of monitoring the progress of the intervention and recording it.

Moreover, the new technologies offer the possibility of using robot arms to assist surgeons during the intervention and synchronizing all the information related to an operation. These robots are capable of simulating the exact movements of a person's arm in order to operate the surgical instruments within the limits established in the 3D atlas of the patient. Thanks to these robots, operations can be performed in a safer and more precise manner. As well as assisting the surgical team in its work, the robots can sometimes go one step further and access parts of the human anatomy that are very difficult to reach. This is due to the levels of freedom that robot arms have in comparison with a human being's arms.

Furthermore, the new technologies mean that all this information can be shared outside the operating theatre, representing a major source of information when addressing doubts or for teaching purposes.

Once the intervention has finished, the recording and uploading of data from the equipment can be done automatically, which saves time for the medical personnel and allows advanced algorithms to process the enormous amount of data to provide feedback, debug data and optimize future systems and equipment.

Dominion 360° is at the cutting edge of the latest advances in the sector, providing know-how, experience and solid technical criteria in solutions for our clients. The value that really makes Dominion 360° stand out, however, is its ability to measure and adapt this expertise in innovation to the situation and the needs of each client. In this way, we offer a personalized, made-to-measure and comprehensive solution so that all medical teams can integrate their systems and equipment to achieve the highest level of efficiency, regardless of their economic or technical resources. 


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