Particles that are one-10,000th the thickness of a strand of hair will hurl through bodies on seek-and-destroy missions attacking tumors and stopping diseases in their tracks, while leaving healthy tissues unharmed.
Your one-of-a-kind genome will dictate your prescriptions.
These are only a few of the advances in medicine Americans can expect in the next 10 years, as new technologies change health care. Revolutionize is not too strong a word.
Far from wishful thinking, these breakthroughs represent well-developed, well-researched and, perhaps most important, well-funded technologies that will make medicine more effective, less expensive and more tailored to individual patients.
And they’re on their way to a health-care provider near you.
Remote surgery: Already surgeons use robots by proxy to remove prostates, perform hysterectomies, ablate thyroid glands and open blocked arteries. Doing robotic surgery lets surgeons be more precise, make smaller incisions and it takes a load off their feet.
Rather than stand for hours over an operating table, surgeons performing robotic surgery sit at a video-arcade-like console, where their hands and feet drive robotic arms.
For now, they do all this while sitting just a few feet away from the patient.
However, the next frontier of robotic surgery will see surgeons operating on patients hundreds, even thousands of miles away, said Roger Smith, chief technology officer for the Nicholson Center for Surgical Advancements in Orlando, Fla. This means a world-class surgeon in Munich could perform a complex heart surgery on a patient in Miami.
Telesurgery also has great military applications, said Smith. Surgeons will soon use robots on battlefields or military ships to perform remote surgery.
To get there, computer scientists are working on more reliable connectivity and a shorter lag time between a surgeon’s movements and what actually happens.
“Fast reaction is important anywhere a slight movement has a big effect,” said Smith.