From hour-long surgery to a 5 minute procedure: How robot technology changed spinal operations

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Dr. Nicholas Theodore using the robot technology during surgery. (Supplied)
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Dr. Nicholas Theodore using the robot technology during surgery. (Supplied)
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Dr. Nicholas Theodore using the robot technology during surgery. (Supplied)
Updated 28 January 2018
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From hour-long surgery to a 5 minute procedure: How robot technology changed spinal operations

DUBAI: A doctor has revolutionized spinal surgery with the introduction of a robot that can carry out a procedure that previously took an hour in just five minutes.
Dr. Nicholas Theodore, director at the neurosurgical spine center at Johns Hopkins Medicine, has invented an image-guided robot for spine surgery that marries a CT scan of the patient with the actual patient.
And already it has shown its capability, by inserting four screws into a patient’s spine in just five minutes – a procedure that previously took 12-times as long.
“As good as I am or anybody is, nobody’s perfect and the whole issue is: Can we make surgery safer for the patient? Can we make that experience quicker and more accurate?” Dr. Theodore, who is also a professor of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University told Arab News.
Using real-time imaging technology that constantly monitors the patient’s moves, the robot is able to adapt as the patient breathes or changes position slightly, allowing a greater chance of 100 percent accuracy and faster recovery time.
And the use of image-guided robotics helps to reduce the risk of error, such as screws going into the wrong place, which are more likely under more traditional methods Dr. Theodore explained.
“The trend in all of medicine is to improve our outcome and to make things safer, i think robotics is the future of everything we do in surgery,” the doctor said.
According to a 2015 study found in the World Journal of Emergency Surgery on the epidemiology of spinal injuries in the UAE, traffic injuries and falls were the leading causes for spinal injuries in the UAE.
Using modern techniques such as robotics in surgical procedures is costly, but Dr. Theodore insists that the machine will “pay for itself.”
“Now I can do three operations in one day instead of two; the hospital will be profitable in that respect,” the doctor said, adding that “the cost becomes irrelevant when patients are doing better and they’re going home faster.”


Saudi team develops payload for use in joint lunar exploration with Chinese Space Agency

Engineers and researchers at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology display the payload they have developed after months of painstaking research and testing. (SPA)
Updated 21 May 2018
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Saudi team develops payload for use in joint lunar exploration with Chinese Space Agency

  • The joint exploration is in line with a memorandum of understanding concluded between China and Saudi Arabia during King Salman's visit to Beijing in mid-March 2017,
  • Under the agreement, the Saudi side will build a payload for a space censoring system for use in filming and take photos of the moon.

JEDDAH: Saudi engineers and researchers have completed work on a payload for a Chinese space vehicle that will explore the moon, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.
The joint exploration is in line with a memorandum of understanding concluded between China and Saudi Arabia during King Salman's visit to Beijing in mid-March 2017, the SPA said, quoting Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed, president of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST).
The joint venture intends to study and explore the moon, "particularly the invisible side of it to provide scientific data for researchers and specialist in space research and science."
As agreed upon by the KACST and the Chinese Space Agency, the Saudi side will build a payload for a space sensory system for use in filming and take photos of the moon.
"The payload was readied in a record time of no more than 12 months during which the Saudi research team faced numerous challenges, most prominent of which was the importance of manufacturing a compact payload with a high capacity of less than 10.5 cu.cm and a weight of no more than 630 grams on the Chinese satellite," the KACST head said.
The payload consists of photographic and data processing units, among others, that is not only light in weight but also able to endure the space environment.
The equipment is capable of taking photos from different angles and altitudes that varies according to the lunar orbit changes, Prince Turki was quoted by the SPA as saying.
"Saudi Arabia's taking part in this great event would boost, no doubt, its efforts to develop its satellite technologies and use it in several fields of reconnaissance and distance censoring as well as space telecommunications, in addition to proceeding with the march of catching the world race in this field," he said.