Surgeon-engineer advances high-tech healing

Posted on May 3, 2009  Comments (2)

Surgeon-engineer advances high-tech healing

Catherine Mohr, 40, is herself a rare creature. Part surgeon, part engineer, she designs instruments and procedures for laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, surgery as well as the surgery curriculum at Stanford University School of Medicine.

The spider – better known as the DaVinci surgical robot – was created by the Sunnyvale company Intuitive Surgical Inc., where her husband, Paul Mohr, is an engineer and she is director of medical research. She designed the special surgical instruments that attach securely to the DaVinci’s strong, wristed arms, and has helped to design the next generation of the robot.

She also designed a procedure for using the robot for gastric-bypass surgery. Her paper on the procedure was published in 2006 in Obesity Surgery, a medical journal. “Someone who needs a gastric bypass has a thick abdominal wall,” Mohr explains. “It can take months for incisions to heal, so you want to do the operation through the smallest incision you can.”

The operation is also ergonomically challenging for the surgeon. “What you’re doing inside is very challenging, and you can’t stand terribly close because these patients are so large,” she says. “It seemed to me that this was something we should do with the robot.”

The surgeon uses controllers to drive the laparoscopic instruments held by the robot, and a screen to view the action. “You don’t cut what you can’t see,” she says.

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2 Responses to “Surgeon-engineer advances high-tech healing”

  1. Anonymous
    May 4th, 2009 @ 4:42 am

    Technology is getting better and better every day.There are both advantages and disadvantages.I do not know if it will be so great in future to live with much more technology than today.I hope people will still have friendships.

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    July 2nd, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

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