SRI invents tiny medical instruments for pediatric surgery
In order to perform surgery on children, doctors often have to jury-rig adult instruments to fit their needs. But Pablo Garcia, a principal engineer at SRI International is working to solve this problem. He's teamed up with Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford to develop new surgical tools that will fit smaller, hard-to-reach areas. SmartPlanet visits SRI and looks at a neurosurgical instrument in development that will excise cysts in the brains of small children.
Not one size fits all
>> Pablo Garcia:My name is Pablo Garcia I'm a principle Engineer at SRI International. My background is in mechanical engineering, working in robotics, then in surgical robotics. That got me interested in the whole field of medical products and how to design solutions for patients. We're working on a program to develop new medical devices for children. A lot of devices do not exist for the pediatric population because it's a smaller market so as a result they clinicians whether surgical products or devices have to end up either jerry rigging products or adapting products from adults, they're not ideally suited for the treatment of children. One of the products that we're working on is tools for neurosurgery. In neurosurgery you want to go deep into the brain, for example inaudible assist and currently the tools that are used are not really adequate because they don't have enough mobility in the tips and they're required to cut up the skull and make a big space in order to access the deep part of the brain.
background music So the tools that we're developing are tiny little tools that can snake into the brain and by having very small articulation in the tip, be able to treat those cysts without really affecting or impacting the rest of the brain. There's an opportunity for a trickle up affect where some of these tools now get marketed to the adult market and hopefully the pool from that larger market keeps those tools alive for treating children
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