Medicine in constantly changing, from new pharmaceutical innovations to new and improved surgical techniques and tools. And while for the patients impacted by these techniques, any improvement can be life changing, some innovations are truly changing the face of medicine today, much as things like heart transplants did in the past.
So what do doctors say are the best new medical practices since the heart transplant? Here are 4 practices from the last few years that could transform healthcare today.
Aspirin On The Brain
For patients with severe migraines and cluster headaches, oral medications are often ineffective. And while doctors have come to associate these headaches with a facial nerve bundle called the sphenopalatine ganglion, it’s only recently that they’ve developed a way to prevent these headaches on a day-to-day basis.
The development of a nerve stimulating device for use by patients has shown remarkable effects in treating these debilitating headaches. By simply placing a remote near a small device implanted near their gum, patients can block pain signals and keep these headaches at bay.
Image Source: Pixabay
Better Brain Surgery
When people think of brain surgery, they often conjure up images of doctors slicing open people’s skulls and delicately poking around in the brain of an often conscious patient. But not all brain surgery looks like this. Endoscopic brain surgery procedures likes those performed by Dr. Hrayr Shahinian allow doctors to perform some kinds of brain surgery through small incisions, making the procedures far less invasive. It may not be a head transplant, but endoscopic brain surgery offers big improvements for many patients.
3-D printers are popping up everywhere lately – in library maker spaces, engineering firms, and even in laboratories and hospitals. But one of the most powerful ways 3-D printers are being used is in the production of prosthetic limbs. These limbs are not only more affordable than traditional prostheses, designers are also creating innovative and whimsical designs for children in need of prostheses. And what’s more, a 3-D printed prosthetic hand can cost as little as $50 or $60 to make, rather than the thousands traditional prosthetics run.
Another application for 3-D printing in the medical industry is in the creation of sub-structures and bridges for tissue regeneration. Printers can make biologically compatible parts from the same material as bone, helping patients heal severe fractures or heal after cancer treatments. The porous 3-D printed material allows for blood flow, keeping the growing body parts healthy, something most artificial materials can’t do.
These 4 innovations are just a snapshot of the many new practices in medicine and these medical innovations will continue to improve in the years to come. By increasing our capacity to perform minimally invasive brain surgery, 3-D print body parts, and manage chronic pain, patients will live happier and healthier lives – the core goal of all medicine.