Cancer Laser Robotic Surgery

Meet Dr. Robot

Advanced robotics bring speed and accuracy to operating rooms

By Russell Nichols

The Operating Room of the Future

Medical technologies and health practitioners need training before broad adoption can happen. This is a key component of the National Center for Interventional Biophotonic Technologies planned for Aggie Square. The P41 grant from National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering was awarded in June. The next phase involves creating the infrastructure, says Marcu, who is also the founding director of NCIBT.

The new center will focus on research and development as well as educating and training for two optical imaging technologies: interventional fluorescence lifetime imaging and interferometric diffuse optical spectroscopy. Both noninvasive approaches measure how light diffuses through tissues, which helps surgeons distinguish healthy from altered cells. This data will then be integrated into deep-learning AI platforms to relay information on the tissue’s structure, composition, blood flow and metabolism.

Currently, physicians use CT scans, X-rays or MRIs prior to an operation to gather information and plan the procedure. These new technologies will provide real-time guidance during medical and surgical procedures. The premise is simple: If a clinician has access to easily readable, imaging information during an operation or patient monitoring, she will be able to make better decisions that improve outcomes. The data could be projected on a wall for the surgeon to see or visible through AR (augmented reality) goggles. The exact delivery method is yet to be determined, Marcu says, but surgeons of tomorrow will have such high-tech tools at their fingertips.

“This is what the operating room of the future looks like,” Marcu says. “It’s a mix of technology, which is easily interfaceable, miniaturized, combined with a software platform that enables real-time processing of information and display in a readable, easy visualized format.”

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