A new robotic instrument has allowed surgeons to operate on a beating heart. The device developed by researchers from Harvard University and Children's Hospital Boston uses 3-D ultrasound images to predict the heart's motion 70 to 100 milliseconds in advance, and then compensates the heart's motion by moving surgical tools in concert.
Tests of the new robotic device to perform mitral-valve surgery on a pig have now confirmed its effectiveness. The instrument has the potential to increase the safety of the 50'000 mitral-valve surgeries performed in the US per year by avoiding the risks of bypass surgery. It may also lead to shorter recovery times and would allow the surgeon to get instant feedback on the effectiveness of the procedure.
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