smart scalpelThe brain is a delicate organ which means that during brain surgery, one wrong move could end in disastrous results. However a scientist by the name of David Oliva Uribe has recently developed what he is calling a smart ‘scalpel’ that could make future brain surgery a lot safer, simply by helping surgeons figure out exactly where they should cut.

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This isn’t an actual scalpel per se as it is neither sharp nor does it actually cut. Instead it is more like a sensor that surgeons can run over tissue matter and supposedly in half a second, it will be able to tell the surgeon which part of the tissue is tumorous and which part isn’t, so like we said, it helps reduce the rate of errors.

According to Uribe, “Although imaging techniques such as an MRI and an ultrasound locate a tumor accurately before the surgery, during the cranial opening and throughout the surgical procedure there are many factors that can lead to the loss of this position, so the resection (the removing of the tumor) depends on the experience, as well as the senses of sight and touch of the surgeon.”

Right now it seems that the only way for doctors to recognize the edges of a tumor is either through microscopic observation or tissue manipulation tools, both of which do not take the brain’s sensitivity into context. However Uribe has only tested out the scalpel on artificial tumors and the brains of pigs, so it might be a while before we see it make its way into the operating room.

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