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Monday, April 5, 2010

Doubtful Side of Medical Technology

By May S. Smith

We are very obsessed with technology, particularly in using them to medical field. More and more medical equipments and devices invented and improved. But they say, newer may not mean it is superior. Technology contributes to a costly health service, and frequently lacking of evidence of its dominance to the present medical equipment or gadgets. Like what happened with the use of laser in surgery. In '80s and 90's, they became popular in melting the brain tumors. They were claimed to be accurate than the traditional way of cutting, suctioning or cauterizing the tumors. And eventually, evidences came out that lasers are expensive and slow. The effect on long-term patients was never been better and in some instances, actually became worse.

And now, surgeon especially specialized in neuro are once again into another promising technology. Intraoperative surgical navigation is a procedure that uses an MRI or CT. The machine shows a 3-D image of the brain, that allow the surgeon to navigate the brain without touching or damaging surrounding tissue like for example the optic nerve. It will be easier to remove the large portion of the tumor. The added safety margin will enable surgeons to safely remove larger portions of a tumor.

What we actually need is proof which claim is the truth. Well-designed studies could tell us what we want to ask. International model are very suggestive to a reliable result. In other well developed countries, new medical technologies are undergone into a series of studies in a handful of academic medical centers of excellence before they are introduced to the market. While in the United States, industry influences the spread and use of the medical technologies. Manufacturers invest their money by paying studies, medical meetings, advertisements and sign up influential and famous physicians. There are possibilities that money and not strict assessments and tests that made equipments pass and approved. Surgeons promote a certain medical technology not because it is effective but most probably because he's been pay well.

Business industry became a partner in the improvement of the medical technologies. They are in one way or another responsible for the continuing progress of technology in the medical field. But we should also be vigilant of their influence on the regulation of qualities of their products. We must also make sure that benefits are worth the price.

Medical technology, with their usefulness comes with side effects and negatives, like for example image scanners could emit a high dose of radiation. Over exposure could cause the patient risk of cancer and many other untoward reactions. In addition a study conducted in Loyola University Chicago Stritch resulted to the discovery that an ordinary exams by a skilled physician could do better than imaging scans in predicting the need of another operation for a brain surgery patients.

May Smith is a webmaster who manages a website about specimen collection system.

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