What Surgical Advances Were Introduced In The Late Twentieth Century?



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Endoscopy and microsurgery are two surgical advances introduced in the late twentieth century. In endoscopy a surgeon uses an endoscope (a tool that lets a surgeon see inside the body) to operate on a patient with keyhole surgery (operating through a small cut only an inch or two across). An endoscope is a small, bendable tube that contains lights, optical fibers that let the surgeon "see" inside the patient, and even forceps and balloons that facilitate surgery. The surgeon can direct a laser beam (electromagnetic radiation) to make bloodless cuts or destroy tumors. For example, using endoscopic techniques, a doctor can do some kinds of heart surgery through a small opening in the patient's groin (lower abdomen). Endoscopy reduces the amount of pain and recuperating time for patients. Microsurgery is another technique that has improved the lives of many people. With a special surgical microscope and a special titanium needle only 0.12 inches (0.3 centimeters) long, the surgeon can repair tiny blood vessels and nerves that were previously untreatable.

Darling, David. The Health Revolution: Surgery and Medicine in the Twenty-First Century. Parsippany, N.J.: Silver Burdett, 1995.

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