How technological advancements are revolutionising transplant procedures

Advancements in technology are always helping to improve the healthcare industry and this is even more important when it comes to transplants. Whether a hair transplant or an organ transplant, ensuring that things run smoothly is extremely important in order to prevent any unnecessary stress on the body. Here, we’re taking a closer look at how transplants are being revolutionised in order to improve processes and success rates.

3-D printing

Originally announced as a way for L’Oreal to improve their testing processes, there could be a day when we see 3-D printing enter the world of hair transplants. While there are a number of different variations when it comes to hair transplant cost as a result of the rising demand of medical tourism, introducing this kind of technology could see some hair transplants becoming a premium service which only the rich and famous can afford.

L’Oreal have partnered up with Poietis, a bio-printing company who are set to print out cell-based objects as a form of laser printing. 3-D printing will work in a magical way, where existing hair follicles will no longer have to be extracted from the scalp and used as grafts. This can help to make the entire procedure far more minimally invasive, further reducing the chances of additional stress being put on the scalp.

Cell-based bio-inkwill be used and the laser will use this ink to create matter droplets. Then, organic tissue will be generated and this will then be left to grow. The only downside to this technology is the time that it would take to generate full hair follicle structures as this is far more complex than skin (it already takes 10 minutes to generate skin that is 1cm x 0.5mm of skin showing just how long it could take to create a number of hair follicles, particularly when the maximum graft offered by most clinics is up to 4000 grafts).

Robot surgery

There are a broad number of horror stories where human error has been a key part in surgical problems. In order to help automate surgery while ensuring procedures remain as precise as possible (in some cases more precise than human surgeons), robot surgery could come into play. In 2015, the world’s first eye operation performed by a remote-controlled robot took place, where a layer of membrane was lifted away from the retina without causing any damage. Known commonly as the R2D2, the Robot Retinal Dissection Device replicates a mechanical hand, without being influenced by the tiny pulses and tremors that a human hand can produce. This isn’t the first robot surgery to be carried out, however, as the Da Vinci surgical robot became the first precise robotic system to mimic the hand movements of a surgeon and small instruments.

Virtual reality surgical planning

Some particular patients require specific surgical procedures meaning the planning can be arduous. This is imperative in order to ensure that the best methods and approaches are used at all times. In order to improve the visualisation of the surgical planning, surgeons are now able to utilise virtual reality in order to streamline this experience even more. This is often more successful as delays between surgeries is minimised and the operation itself runs far more seamlessly.

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