No matter how well it’s dressed up, one of the worst traumatic experiences a human body can take is surgery. After all, it does involve being cut open in order to treat an underlying condition and disease after all other non-invasive treatment options have been exhausted.
Thankfully, modern medical and technological breakthroughs have made surgical procedures faster, cleaner, and easier – not just for the patient but also for the surgeon performing the operation. One of these breakthroughs is the introduction of powered tools in the operating theater.
Designed specifically to work in sterile and delicate environments, surgical power tools augment a surgeon’s skilled hand and expertise through the mini motors installed within them – providing not only more cutting and drilling power but also more precision. The tools themselves are also designed to withstand multiple sterilizations, allowing surgeons to clean them with every use and not have to worry about exposing delicate machinery to water. This results in quicker, easier, and overall safer surgical procedures.
With this said, here are some of the power tools used by surgeons worldwide:
Similar to the powered, cordless drills you’d find in a toolshed, this tool is used to create holes in human bone, to make it ready for either the implantation of prosthetics or corrective screws/rods. And just like its toolshed counterpart, this particular drill comes in many shapes and forms, to accommodate different tasks in the operating theater—from the usual hand drills for orthopedic surgery to the small, slim models used for delicate tasks such as those involving the spine and nervous system.
Not to be confused with the drill, the reamer is used to enlarge holes in bones already made by the surgical drill. But just like the surgical drill, it is used to prepare human bone for the implantation of prosthetics and other corrective surgeries.
This particular tool is used to cut through bone and human tissue for purposes of amputation, as well as other various orthopedic procedures. Functionally similar to its toolshed counterpart, the orthopedic saw comes in many sizes and forms depending on the task at hand. This is also one of the tools where the high torque provided by mini motors designed for surgical tools is perhaps the most essential.
This surgical power tool is used mainly for arthroscopy—a minimally-invasive surgical procedure used to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint. In a surgeon’s hands it is used to abrade tissue and bone, as well as remove loose fragments and shave away debris.
Staples are generally accepted in the medical world as a safer and much more efficient way of closing wounds and incisions. This power tool is used to facilitate that process much more quickly, thanks to the miniaturized motors powering it. Modern breakthroughs have also allowed this tool to be used single-handedly, allowing the surgeon a higher degree of precision as well.
Surgical robots are huge, highly-advanced and highly-sensitive machinery designed to help surgeons perform complicated and extensive surgery in the most minimally-invasive fashion possible, i.e. through laparoscopy (wherein only a very small incision is made, as opposed to a large one). This type of procedure not only allows for a greater operative success rate but also faster patient recovery and decreased risk of infection. Of course, this also means that smaller and more precise movements are required of the surgeon, since there is a smaller incision to work with. Surgical robots’ miniature cameras and micro motors therefore serve as the surgeon’s eyes and hands, helping them perform the surgery easily even with the obvious difficulty of operating with such a tiny incision.
The introduction and success of powered tools in the operating theater really brings home the fact that even in industries where the human touch is necessary and vital, technology can be used to better its standards and outcomes for all involved.