A new laser surgery for breast cancer has just been approved for use in the UK. It leaves virtually no scars and needs only local anaesthetic. Frances Barr, 69, a mother of two and a retired PA from Bristol, was one of the first women in Britain to have it as part of a trial, as she tells PAT HAGAN. Like all women aged over 50 in the UK, I am invited for breast cancer screening every three years. It was during one of these mammograms in 2013 that a suspicious growth was found in my right breast.
According to a new report, more Americans are going under the knife and using their own fat to improve their appearances. And, for the first time, labiaplasty -- a procedure that involves rejuvenating the labia through lifting, or by injecting fat or filler into the area -- was included in the annual results from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Overall, the data revealed that 17.1 million surgical and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures were performed in 2016. Cosmetic surgical procedures increased by 4 percent, compared with minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, which grew by 3 percent. "One trend we are seeing with fat involves an increase in fat grafting procedures," Dr. Debra Johnson, president of the ASPS, said in a news release.
Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, in which a surgeon uses tools and a tiny camera inserted into small incisions to perform operations, has made surgical procedures safer for both patients and doctors over the last half-century. Recently, surgical robots have started to appear in operating rooms to further assist surgeons by allowing them to manipulate multiple tools at once with greater precision, flexibility, and control than is possible with traditional techniques. However, these robotic systems are extremely large, often taking up an entire room, and their tools can be much larger than the delicate tissues and structures on which they operate. A collaboration between Wyss Associate Faculty member Robert Wood, Ph.D. and Robotics Engineer Hiroyuki Suzuki of Sony Corporation has brought surgical robotics down to the microscale by creating a new, origami-inspired miniature remote center of motion manipulator (the "mini-RCM"). The robot is the size of a tennis ball, weighs about as much as a penny, and successfully performed a difficult mock surgical task, as described in a recent issue of Nature Machine Intelligence. "The Wood lab's unique technical capabilities for making micro-robots have led to a number of impressive inventions over the last few years, and I was convinced that it also had the potential to make a breakthrough in the field of medical manipulators as well," said Suzuki, who began working with Wood on the mini-RCM in 2018 as part of a Harvard-Sony collaboration.
An ultra-thin surgical tool designed with inspiration from the egg-laying organ of parasitic wasps could be used to help operate on tumours and blood clots. Researchers from the Netherlands based their prototype on the ovipositor -- a long needle-like tube that protrudes from the rear of some wasps. The parasitic insects use their ovipositor to inject eggs into the bodies, eggs and boreholes of its hosts. The organ can also drill through wood and paralyse. The surgical device, however, will be less gruesome -- instead using the same segmented design to extract tissue samples during minimally invasive surgery.