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Automatic drill could make surgery safer

| May 30, 2017 | Medical Malpractice

Surgical patients in Pennsylvania hospitals may one day be able to benefit from technology developed at the University of Utah. Researchers there have invented a drill that works 50 times faster than humans, and it offers improved accuracy. The drill has been used to perform a translabyrinthine procedure, which involves an acoustic nerve near the ear. While the procedure is fairly common, it is also challenging for surgeons.

This is because surgeons need to be careful not to hit facial nerves or hit the venous sinus. Therefore, it made for a useful proof of concept for the new technology. For now, the drill will be used mostly on cranial procedures that currently require surgeons to drill holes by hand. The drill works by mapping out the patient’s brain ahead of time and creating a path for the tool to follow during surgery.

Barriers can be put in place by doctors, and the drill will turn itself off if it gets too close to the barriers. The drill’s creators hope to make the technology more widely available, and they also hope to make use of it for other procedures such as hip replacements. Ideally, the drill will reduce surgical errors, which may reduce complications such as infection during or after a procedure.

If an individual is harmed because of mistakes made during surgery, he or she may have cause to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney may work with an injured patient to show that negligence occurred at some point during a procedure that resulted in pain or other symptoms. If successful, the patient may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other losses.