today i 'watched' a nepeherectomy being done at swedish hospital by a robot. yes you read that right, there's a surgical robot out there.
there were 3 observers to the surgery who tweeted (twittled?) as things went along, including taking and posting of pics. the procedure was a side-entry, less invasive procedure by dr. james porter who perfected this way of doing it, and the patient will only stay 2-3 days in hospital as opposed as a week+. i must say it was quite impressive.
here's a link to the transcript.
here's a story about it
Live Tweeting Kidney Operation1 hour ago by ■ Renee Hendricks (who's my way cool neighbor)
Just when you thought live tweeting couldn't get more interesting, Swedish Hospital in Seattle, WA brings it to a whole new level.Seattle, United States - The diagnosis of kidney cancer is passed on to over 50,000 Americans each year. Swedish Hospital in Seattle, WA has been part of one of the latest advancements in the progress toward treating this disease. The hospital's Robotic-Assisted Surgery program, directed by urologic surgeon James Porter M.D., is home to the da Vinci - a state-of-the-art bit of technology that helps doctors perform a more precise operation than with standard surgery. The da Vinci allows the surgeon to perform a rear-approach partial nephrectomy - this makes the precise removal of the disease portion of the kidney possible. The advantage to this type of surgery is the ability for patients to recover at a quicker rate and to retain a majority of their kidney functionality.
The month of March is National Kidney Month and to honor this month's theme, Swedish Hospital gathered a group of "tweeters" from the hospital and had them observe Dr. Porter performing this critical operation using the da Vinci technology. The "tweeters" live tweeted the entire operation from beginning to end. The premise behind the event was to be able to give more people an inside look at the advances that have been made in modern surgery. The surgery occurred on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 7:40 am and was a complete success.
The patient who received this surgery is a 69 year old male originally from California. His renal mass was found as part of a follow up for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The referral to Dr. Porter and Swedish hospital was made by a urologic surgeon who had previously trained under Dr. Porter. The live tweeting event was conducted under the full consent of the patient.
To review the entire procedure on the Twitter news feed, the following Twitter accounts were listed as part of the event:
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and here's something else in today's news, a little closer to home.
ICE-COLD GAS 'KILLS' BREAST CANCER
BREAST cancers can be killed off by being frozen with streams of super-cold gas, scientists have discovered.
And, in a major breakthrough, the “ice-ball” created around a tumour by the injections not only kills it off but ensures the cancer does not return.
Fine needles are used to inject the freezing gas around the tumour in a technique known as cryotherapy, which means the patient does not need invasive surgery and suffers no major discomfort.
The trial was carried out on 13 patients who had all refused to have breast operations to remove their tumours. They remained cancer-free up to five years later when doctors saw no sign of the disease returning and noted no significant complications.
Dr Peter Littrup, interventional radiologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, who led the study, said the findings suggested freezing tumours was both safe and effective.
“Minimally invasive cryotherapy opens the door for a potential new treatment for breast cancer and needs to be further tested,” he said. “When used for local control and – or – potential cure of breast cancer, it provided safe and effective breast conservation.” Although cryotherapy has been used by surgeons for years to treat disease, it always used to require a major operation.
But the invention of tiny needles has allowed radiologists to start using the process. Studies have already shown that it can help kill off prostate tumours, although it is still not recommended for widespread NHS use.
In the latest experiment, cancer cells are destroyed within minutes of the injections and the patient suffers little pain or scarring. The study was presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 35th Annual Scientific Meeting in Florida yesterday.
The team followed the 13 patients for five years – the length of time in which patients should not suffer a relapse in order for a treatment to be classed as effective. More than 45,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK. Most are given surgery to remove either the tumour or the entire breast.
This is followed by weeks of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and various drug treatments depending on the type of breast cancer. More than 80 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer will survive for at least five years using these treatments and more than 70 per cent will survive for a decade.
In recent years, radiologists have been looking at a number of new ways in which they can “intervene” in diseases using a range of procedures.
These doctors, known as interventional radiologists, have tested techniques including “heating” tumours with lasers and radiation. Last night, breast cancer charities welcomed the new study, but said it was far too early to say if the technique would ever be available to all patients.
Dr Caitlin Palframan, from Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “We are a long way away from knowing whether cryotherapy has potential as a treatment option. Where appropriate, surgery remains a gold-standard treatment and surgical techniques continue to improve all the time.”
But surgery can have a profound psychological impact on patients, and some refuse it despite the consequent risks. Cryotherapy has been used for years to treat various skin conditions such as warts, moles and skin cancers. It has also been shown to work on other cancers, including cancer of the lung, liver and cervix.
Although it is only minimally invasive there are side-effects and these can include damage to surrounding healthy tissue.