Oxymoron of the Day

Turning to Biomechanics to Build a Kinder, Gentler Rib Spreader

(headline in today’s New York Times)

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One thought on “Oxymoron of the Day

  1. The old rib-spreaders (75 years old this year) are still widely used. We’re designing the new autonomous robotic thoracic retractor with the intent to make that headline *not* an oxymoron. Turns out, if you open the rib cage in a certain way, the number of broken ribs can be reduced or eliminated altogether – that’s the goal, and one that’s achieveable. Note that >90% of thoracic surgeries are full-access (open chest), *not* minimally invasive. That’s not likely to change for a long time, given many factors, not the least of which is that, on average, MI has yet to prove superior – and, for some parameters, it’s not as good as full-access. But, the old (current) device ramps up the forces (which we’re the first to ever measure) in sudden bursts – very bad for tissues. So, biomechanically, it’s not the hole that matters as much as *how* you make the hole. That’s the point.

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