Science

Secret tunnel found in the body

K. V. Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on February 10, 2013




The realm of human body is as fascinating as astronomy. Medical research continues to throw up interesting insights into our body.

A Korean robotic surgeon has found a potential for a tunnel in our body, separating the wafer-thin skin and the muscle. This would mean a lot to the young and women patients, who detest having a scar on their neck after surgery.

Dr Woong Youn Chung from Seoul, an expert in robotic surgeries, has found out a new use for robots that are already at work in operation theatres across the world.

He discovered a route to the thyroid (which sits in the neck) from under the skin underneath the arm pit. A feet-long pipe, which comprises a powerful camera to send back three-dimensional images and the tiny surgical scissors, will be inserted into the tunnel.

The surgeon takes over and deftly moves the robotic arms, using a computer console with arms and foot controls. The endo-wrist attached to these arms can move in different directions and can manoeuvre 270 degrees. “The system gives a magnified view of the thyroid, making nerves and blood vessels. It enables faster surgery with more precision,” Dr Chung told Business Line.

Dr Chung is here to take part in the Cancer CI conference being held here. He has conducted several thyroid surgeries in Chennai and Hyderabad using this technique.

Dr Umanath Nayak, Head and Neck and Robotic thyroid surgeon at Apollo Hospitals, said this procedure would be of great utility in India.

“About 12 per cent of people in India are exposed to goitre (nodules in the thyroid). About 50 per cent of them don’t require surgery. Some of them even cause cancer. Surgeries that are in vogue leave a scar on the neck. Using robots, we can avoid scars. The blood loss too will be less,” he said.

The cost of robotic surgery is pegged at Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh over the traditional surgeries that cost about Rs 1.5 lakh.

> kurmanath.kanchi@thehindu.co.in

Published on February 10, 2013

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