a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA)

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Week: 588.3 

Guest: Dr. Ralph Damiano, Chief of Cardiothoracic surgery, Penn State Hershey Medical Center 

Topic: Study on surgery robotics  

Host: Steve Girard 

NEMA: The futuristic operating room....coming up... 

SPOT: 15 years in the prevention of heart disease, stroke and trauma- the National Emergency Medicine Association. Call 800-332-6362. 

NEMA: Four institutions are testing out a new robotic system to aid surgeons in performing cardiac procedures less invasively, remotely...through pencil-thin openings instead of incisions...and a scope, or camera inserted into the body. Dr. Ralph Damiano is using the system on cadavers and models at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and says the lack of physical contact is the most difficult aspect...

DAMIANO: You aren’t in direct contact with the patient any longer. And, as a surgeon, we’re very used to manipulating instruments themselves, but also we use a lot of tactile sensation to guide us.  

NEMA: Dr. Damiano says the first robotic surgery unit used on people will have some basic sense of touch...another drawback is that the camera’s image is pretty much two dimensional....  

DAMIANO: And there’s some recent advances in the three dimensional optics that will probably overcome that within the next two or three years.  

NEMA: ...and he says the potential for the procedure is immense...  

DAMIANO: I think they tremendously enhance surgical ability. And as this technology is further developed, it’s going to have a larger and larger impact on many other areas of surgery.  

NEMA: It will be at least a year before the robotic coronary bypass is done on people...after review by the FDA. I’m Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.