Top Five Medical Tech Advances of 2013

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Images: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

The medical world is a fast growing field, with lots of updates in more than one aspect. As a medical professional, you are expected to be familiar with some of those updates and you might even be asked about your knowledge by a potential employer. Today I will be sharing some exciting new medical tech devices that were announced or first tried in 2013.

Comparison of Micra(TM) Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) with coin
Comparison of Micra(TM) Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) with coin

Our first device is the miniature pacemaker by Medtronic, Inc. Called the Micra(TM) Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS), this pacemaker is 24 millimeters long and 0.75 cubic centimeters in volume, which makes it the smallest pacemaker in the world up to this day. This pacemaker was recently implanted in a patient in Austria as part of a Medtronic’s global medical trial. The device is delivered in a minimally invasive manner through a catheter inserted in the femoral vein, which could reduce the risks associated with the usual open approach of delivering bulkier pacemakers. And it also does not require wires which further reduces any complications related to the presence of leads and wires.

MoleMate
MoleMate
Our second device is the Handheld Optical Scan for Melanoma.

Melanoma is the first cause of death when it comes to skin cancers. Usually, a dermatologist will look at a suspicious lesion, then decide whether to take a biopsy or not and wait for its result. That process could take at least a few days. With this device, the diagnosis of Melanomas can be made in about one minute! That’s right! Just one minute! This device uses different wavelengths to visualize the blood vessels below the skin lesion in question, then it compares it with a computerized database of more than 10,000 images. After that, an assessments is given and the dermatologist can decide where to go from there. The accuracy of detecting Melanomas for this optical scan have reached 98% in one trial study, missing less than 2% of Melanomas. An example of such devices is the MoleMate.

Ex Vivo Lung perfusion (EVLP)
Ex Vivo Lung perfusion (EVLP)

Now off to the respiratory system. Lung transplantation is one of the most important life saving procedures performed to save people with end stage respiratory disease. But there is one problem, the number of suitable lungs for transplant is way less than the number of people waiting for lungs. And what is the cause? Lungs are very sensitive, they could be damaged by a number of factors that happen before or after brain death of the donor which makes them unsuitable for transplantation. But with this approach, called the Ex Vivo Lung perfusion (EVLP), around 40% of those lungs can now be suitable for transplant as marginal lungs.

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Next is The ATI™ Neurostimulation System aka the electronic aspirin. It is very small implant with great effect. Used for the management of cluster headache pain, a very painful condition that interferes with daily life most time, the implant is surgically placed through the gum near the SPG nerve bundle. Patients can control the stimulation treatment delivered by the implant by placing a remote on their cheek. If it is no longer needed, it can either be left in place or surgically removed on outpatient basis.
Images: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Images: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

This last one is very interesting. The much anticipated Google Glass, a portable computer that you could talk to at the tip of your nose. Just imagine the possibilities with this one!! Really!! I am leaving this one for your imagination because talking about it will not do it justice!