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Prime Minister views innovative health technology at Imperial College London
Date:10/4/2007

The benefits of applying technological know how to patient care were demonstrated by Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Imperial College London yesterday.

Imperials Rector, Sir Richard Sykes, and Professor of Surgery and Department of Health Parliamentary Under Secretary, Lord Darzi, took the PM on a tour of the Colleges newly launched Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

The Institute is at the forefront of medical innovation, drawing together scientists, clinicians and engineers for research focussed on technologies in systems biology, materials, imaging, nanotechnology, bionics, biomechanics and tissue engineering.

During the tour, the PM took a special interest in the virtual operating theatre used for cardiac micro surgery in the Medical Imaging and Robotics Room.

The Colleges Director of Medical Imaging, Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, discussed the potential advantages and applications of robotic surgical devices, such as the Da Vinci robot, whilst Lord Darzi, carried out a virtual medical procedure in front of Mr Brown.

With the aid of 3D vision, the robotic arms are manipulated remotely by a control pad and joystick, allowing surgeons to perform intricate surgical procedures with greatly enhanced vision, dexterity, precision and control.

The DaVinci robot is especially important for minimal invasive surgery - an area pioneered by Lord Darzi. Surgeons can operate through tiny incisions, which have less health impacts on patients and help to speed up recovery time.

Explaining the benefits of robotic surgical technology Professor Yang said:

"Minimal access surgery reduces the impact trauma of an operation on patients but it requires pinpoint accuracy and a very steady hand. Enabling the surgeon to operate via a robot represents the perfect marriage of human skill with technological advances in biomedical engineering."

Speaking about the important role that organisations like the I
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Contact: Colin Smith
cd.smith@imperial.ac.uk
020-759-46712
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

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