There are projections that we are on the verge of replacing the traditional stainless-steel scalpel of a surgeon with a cutting device that will make use of high-pressure liquid. This is the consensus and observation of various insiders in the medical and surgical industry following the celebrated testing and patenting of prototype equipment of this type which was held in Germany.
Engineer Andreas Pein of Euromed Medizintechnik in Schwerin, Germany spearheaded the overall design of the system. It is making use of a pump to help in forcing sterile water-based cutting through extremely tiny nozzles. Water pressure is made to reach a minimum of 150 bar. With this amount of pressure, the waterjet cutting process is made strong enough for it to be able to slice through the kidneys, hearts, and livers with very minimal damage to the surrounding blood vessels, nerves, and bile ducts.
The primary goal of this particular engineer from Schwerin, Germany was to come up with a viable human organ cutting technique that will leave the least amount of damage to the healthy tissue being worked on. The overall design of this device was inspired by the technology utilized by the manufacturing and metal fabricating industries when they are processing fiber-reinforced composites and cutting steel.
The device comes with several special adaptation features. This would include the foot-pedal control that will help enable a surgeon to have variations on the pressure of the jet while carrying out surgical operation procedures. It also provides a means to effectively control the temperature of the liquid in the device. The liquid, in the latest prototype, can be heated for up to 80 degrees Celsius. This temperature range of water is most helpful in reducing bleeding during the operation.
This system is more advantageous over laser scalpels in the sense that it offers the freedom to change the pressure during the cutting procedure, allowing surgeons to enjoy a certain degree of liberty in being selective. Like for instance, it allows the cutting of a liver tissue sans causing damage or cutting a vein.
Another remarkable thing happening at the Euromed engineers at the moment is that they are
keen on finding possible ways to supercool a liquid and make use of that technology to cause the jets of water to emerge not as a liquid but in the form of ice crystals instead.
If they find success in this aspect anytime soon, it will make it possible for them to cut through bone structures and other similar hard tissues without any difficulty. In addition, it will be most suitable for use in surgeries that are intending to replace joints.
There is also a good possibility that the waterjet cutting process can be coupled with a surgical laser. Laser technology has been tapped into for application in a wide spectrum of surgical techniques. This would be ranging from hernia operations to removal of cataract in the eye, but the optical fibre responsible for bringing the beam of laser to the tissue to be cut off has a tendency to overheat, and thus need to get replaced.
These Euromed engineers are making good plans for replacing the optical fibre or its last few millimeters with a low-pressure water jet. The fiber that is tasked with carrying the laser will eventually end up in a liquid-filled pressure chamber. By this measure, the laser light will be conducted via the water jet, keeping the optical fibre and the tissue from being heated up.