surgery: A form of treatment that involves an operation, and may involve the removal of tissue, change in the organisation of the anatomy or placement of prostheses.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare1

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There are many reasons to have surgery. Some operations can relieve or prevent pain. Others can reduce a symptom of a problem or improve some body function. Some surgeries are done to find a problem. For example, a surgeon may do a biopsy, which involves removing a piece of tissue to examine under a microscope. Some surgeries, like heart surgery, can save your life.

Some operations that once needed large incisions (cuts in the body) can now be done using much smaller cuts. This is called laparoscopic surgery. Surgeons insert a thin tube with a camera to see, and use small tools to do the surgery.

After surgery there can be a risk of complications, including infection, too much bleeding, reaction to anesthesia, or accidental injury. There is almost always some pain with surgery.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Source: MedLinePlus (NIH)2

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Surgery adverse event: A procedure complication adverse event that occurs after a surgery.3

Research for Surgery

Surgery of the Future

A glimpse of what’s to come in the operating room

In the not-too-distant future, operating rooms will feature devices that will revolutionize surgery for patients and doctors. You can get a sneak peek at these tools in a new mobile app.

The Surgery of the Future app provides a 3D virtual tour of the operating room of the future. This app is provided by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).

More than a dozen surgical technologies are featured in the app. You can download it on iOS and Android devices. All of the featured technologies are still in development and are funded by NIBIB.

“NIBIB funds a wide range of advanced technologies, including tools for imaging the body, biomaterials, and robotics,” says Margot Kern, who led the development of the app. “One arena where all of these technologies come into play is in the operating room, in surgery.”

“This project demonstrates ways that patients and surgeons may benefit from the next generation of technologies.”

“When people think about the types of research NIH supports, they don’t necessarily think of surgery,” she adds. “But surgery is a critical part of our health care system, and advances in surgical technologies have the potential to greatly improve patient care. We thought showcasing some of the technologies NIBIB is funding in a virtual surgical operating room would be an exciting way for the public to learn how their tax dollars are being used to make surgery safer and more effective.”

In the app, users can view a number of NIH-funded technologies. These include robots that can stitch tissues by themselves, biomaterials that change shape or dissolve inside the body, and a tool that reduces a surgeon’s natural hand tremor.

“This project demonstrates ways that patients and surgeons may benefit from the next generation of technologies conceived, tested, and developed in biomedical engineering and team science laboratories,” says Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., director of NIBIB. “This virtual tour provides a sneak peek at what the surgery of the future could entail, all engineered to assist surgical teams and achieve better outcomes for their patients.”

We’ve provided an overview of some of the exciting advances featured in the app. Check out the images and descriptions to find out more about what’s to come. Download the app on your mobile device through the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH)4


Types may include:5

Types of Surgical Procedure:

  • Additional Surgical Procedure
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedure
  • Cold Ischemia During Surgery
  • Curative Surgery
  • Diagnostic Surgical Procedure
  • Elective Surgical Procedure
  • Enlargement Of Surgical Incision
  • Explantation
  • Exploratory Surgery
  • Implantation
  • Invasive Procedure
  • Nerve-Sparing Surgery
  • Non-Cardiovascular Surgery
  • Palliative Surgery
  • Pediatric Surgical Procedures
  • Prolonged Surgery
  • Prophylactic Surgery
  • Repeated Surgical Procedure
  • Second-Look Surgery
  • Stenting
  • Surgical Procedure by Method
  • Surgical Procedure by Site or System
  • Therapeutic Surgical Procedure
  • Unnecessary Surgical Procedure
  • Warm Ischemia During Surgery

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  1. Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: reports-statistics/ health-conditions-disability-deaths/ cancer/ glossary
  2. Source: MedLinePlus (NIH): surgery.html
  3. Source: OAE Ontology
  4. Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH): magazine/ issues/ summer17/ articles/ summer17pg24-25.html
  5. Source: NCI Thesaurus

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.