New drill could make surgery safer

Arizona residents may have heard about a new drill that aims to make certain types of surgeries safer for patients. The technology was developed by University of Utah researchers. It can go 50 times faster than a human, which may significantly reduce cranial procedures. Currently, surgeons have to drill holes by hand slowly and carefully in these types of operations.

Patients who undergo a procedure with the new technology will first have a map of their brain created. From there, the software can tell the drill where to operate, and if it gets too close to a barrier created by the surgeon, the drill will turn itself off.

The technology has already been tested during a translabyrinthine procedure, which is when benign tumors are removed around the acoustic nerve. It is a fairly common surgery, but it is difficult for surgeons because they have to avoid facial nerves as well as the venous sinus. The next step is to find ways to make the drill widely available, and it is thought that it could be used one day for hip replacements and other procedures. In addition to completing a procedure in less time, the drill may also be able to reduce the instance of infection or other errors that could be caused by humans.

Surgical errors can result in a patient suffering a worsened medical condition that requires aggressive and extensive treatment. Patients or their family members who have been harmed in such a manner may want to meet with an attorney to see if the mistake constituted actionable medical malpractice for which compensation could be sought.