Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Medical Reports: Robotic surgery for children
Robotic surgery is the latest and greatest tool in the operating room, often meaning smaller incisions and quicker recovery times. But until recently, the technology was usually reserved for adults. In today's Healthcast, Seven's Christine Cruz shows us how, now, robotic arms are working their magic on some smaller patients.
WSVN -- Robots are no longer just part of the space age. Now they're helping doctors save children's lives.
Martha Umana: "It happened on Thanksgiving, it happened on her birthday, on Christmas."
Some of the best of days in the Umana household turned into the worst.
Martha Umana: "Her fever would go up to 105, and she would just go into a seizure."
Kaila suffered from a condition called hydronephrosis, an obstruction of the urinary track, which can cause chronic kidney infections. The only cure, surgery.
Luckily, this robot, named the Da Vinci, helped doctors operate more precisely and less invasively on Kaila's tiny body. They use a telescopic lens and a controller to move the robot's arms.
Waldo Feng, MD, PhD, Pediatric Urology Surgeon: "We would require about a five-inch incision in the abdomen. Now the surgery is done using two small incisions, about a dime each in size and one small incision in the belly button."
The robotic surgery means children go home with their parents sooner.
Martha Umana: "It was like the best thing because she was only in the hospital about two days."
Children as young as five months old have successfully undergone robotic surgery. As for Kaila, with a quicker recovery, she's now back to doing what's really important, being a kid.
Currently, researchers are working to develop robots that can do things like operate on a beating heart and correct problems while a baby is still in utero.
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