Surgery of the Future

A glimpse of what’s to come in the operating room

In the not-too-distant future, operating rooms will feature devices that will revolutionize surgery for patients and doctors. You can get a sneak peek at these tools in a new mobile app.

The Surgery of the Future app provides a 3D virtual tour of the operating room of the future. This app is provided by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).

More than a dozen surgical technologies are featured in the app. You can download it on iOS and Android devices. All of the featured technologies are still in development and are funded by NIBIB.

“NIBIB funds a wide range of advanced technologies, including tools for imaging the body, biomaterials, and robotics,” says Margot Kern, who led the development of the app. “One arena where all of these technologies come into play is in the operating room, in surgery.”

“This project demonstrates ways that patients and surgeons may benefit from the next generation of technologies.”

“When people think about the types of research NIH supports, they don’t necessarily think of surgery,” she adds. “But surgery is a critical part of our health care system, and advances in surgical technologies have the potential to greatly improve patient care. We thought showcasing some of the technologies NIBIB is funding in a virtual surgical operating room would be an exciting way for the public to learn how their tax dollars are being used to make surgery safer and more effective.”

In the app, users can view a number of NIH-funded technologies. These include robots that can stitch tissues by themselves, biomaterials that change shape or dissolve inside the body, and a tool that reduces a surgeon’s natural hand tremor.

“This project demonstrates ways that patients and surgeons may benefit from the next generation of technologies conceived, tested, and developed in biomedical engineering and team science laboratories,” says Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., director of NIBIB. “This virtual tour provides a sneak peek at what the surgery of the future could entail, all engineered to assist surgical teams and achieve better outcomes for their patients.”

We’ve provided an overview of some of the exciting advances featured in the app. Check out the images and descriptions to find out more about what’s to come. Download the app on your mobile device through the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Learn More

NIH-Supported Technologies of the Future
Summer 2017 Issue: Volume 12 Number 2 Page 24-25