Science and Health

Surgery without scars by new robotic hands

Updated: 2011-07-06 14:27
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SINGAPORE - A team of researchers in Singapore has designed a tube with special robotic hands that allows doctors to perform surgery on a patient's inner organs without resulting in scars, local media reported on Wednesday.

The special "robotic hands" were fixed to the tube to access a patient's stomach. Compared with traditional methods which use only one robotic hand, the new device known as master and slave transluminal endoscopic robot, or MASTER, is more nimble, thereby allowing complex operations, the Lianhe Zaobao reported.

Louis Phee, an associate professor at the Nanyang Technological University who led the team of researchers, had spent six years to develop the gadget, which cut an eight-hour procedure to just 17 minutes, said doctors at India's Asian Institute of Gastroenterology.

The gadget, still in the trial stage, has been tested earlier this month on three patients at the Indian hospital. It is also expected to be tried out in Germany and China's Hong Kong later. The patients can leave the hospital much sooner than they would have using traditional gadgets.

Phee said he expected the gadget to be available on the market as early as three years from now, after going through clinical trials and getting the approval from authorities.

He also saw a potential for the gadget to be used on other organs by cutting a small spit on stomach that allows the gadget to go through to access the site.