UNL, UNMC study next generation of surgery

Posted By: Jenn Schanz
jschanz@klkntv.com 

Imagine a war zone with no need for medics; it’s an idea that’s quickly becoming a reality, thanks to researchers like Dr. Shane Farritor of UNL.

He’s been working with a doctor from UNMC to try make this next generation of medicine possible.

“We’re trying to make small robots that can be inserted into the body and through a small incision and then once their on the inside, they can perform surgical techniques,” Farritor says.

What’s more, a surgeon wouldn’t even have to be present.

In fact, they could be a thousand miles away, watching a live stream of the surgery and helping identify the steps that need to be taken.

The doctors would still be the brains of the operation, the robots would just act as their hands.

Farritor and his research partner, Dr. Dmitry Oleynikov of UNMC, were given a $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Army to continue their research on Robotic Telesurgery that began in 2003.

NASA also sponsors their research.

“So if you’re going to be on the moon or on Mars, you’re days away from true surgical care and a device like can provide more capabilities in the remote environments,” Farritor says.

But the Mechanical Engineering professor has plan to start with the every day procedures.

“We see a lot of clinical benefits and I think out first applications will be first terrestrial civilian clinical applications.”

They have a colon resection planned for October.

In 50 years, Farritor says he envisions surgery happening 100 percent inside the body, with robots as small as a tiny pill you can swallow.