There might be no more cuts in the nearest future as developments in medicine could make surgery more effective and less invasive. Also, more patients could undergo preventive procedures to stop worsening of illness.
According to a monumental report on the future of surgery by an independent commission of medical experts of England’s Royal College of Surgeons; there are projections that in about 20 years from now, many surgical operations, now common, will become obsolete. Any remainder is likely to be minimally invasive.
The report highlights ways in which technological developments like surgical robots (in minimally invasive surgery), imaging, artificial intelligence and genomics, specialized interventions and new vaccines could make the greatest impact and shape the future of surgery over the next two decades.
The widespread take-up of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine could mean that in the nearest future, thousands of people will no longer develop cervical, oral and anal cancer and therefore, will not require surgery. For the cancers that do develop, surgical robots and improved medications could also prevent the need for an invasive surgical procedure.
The reports also hammer on the invention of a new generation of smaller surgical robots (due in early 2019), which will play an expanding role in surgical operations. The robots will be more versatile, lighter and impressively cheaper. The use of these will speed up recovery time, as well as make surgery less demanding for patients. These robots will be involved in a lot of surgical procedures in the decades to come. In the longer term, the wider use of robotics will reduce variation in surgical performance and invasiveness of procedures.
Stem cells too will play a huge role, as the report predicts that treatments involving stem cells and regenerative medicine could treat cardiovascular diseases and prevent the need for open heart surgeries. In addition, the potential of stem cells to treat osteoarthritis will likely lead to fewer hip and knee replacement surgeries being carried out. This involves using patients’ own cells to repair damaged joints. Advancements in stem cell treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, may in the future open doors to surgical avenues for treatment.
If you stop to look, you will realize surgery has come a long way from totally invasive, to newly modernized forms of medicine. This is seen in medical neuroscience, knowledge about the brain has made the procedure less invasive and even more precise than before. This is one of the reasons why surgeons are happy at the prospect of invasive surgeries becoming obsolete.
Medical experts from the Royal College of Surgeon predict that in the future, surgical procedures will be focused more on preventive care and helping people live healthier lives with emphasis on improving the quality of life in the elderly. Hence, surgeries won’t be totally obsolete.
The reports also suggest that the new breakthroughs in the medical field will mean that surgical procedures will be less invasive and with faster recovery time.
This means that for patients in the future, surgery and healthcare will change. Now, surgery is only used to tackle an advanced form of the disease and this is only after a display of symptoms. But in the future, surgery will be a potential tool for preventing and not just treating disease. Also, less invasive technologies and advances in imaging will enable older and frail patients, and more patients to be treated with surgery.
In all, mortality rates are projected to decline by 15% due to improvements in both early diagnosis and personalized treatments. All of this made possible by technological advancements.
Alex Barker is a full-time Pharmacist, media company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He is also is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps busy professionals build successful side businesses.