Surgical Aspects of Space Medicine
Nagah Atwa Salem
General Surgery Department; Faculty of Medicine (Damietta); Al-Azhar University
Journal Title:International Journal of Medical Arts
Although the perception of surgery in space may appear obscure, it is vital to initiate planning early if new frontiers in space travel are to be accomplished. Conditions necessitating surgery in space are rare, but they are challenging in their management. Telemedicine can allow consultation and instruction at the time of surgical intervention. This may permit optimal guidance for conduction of simple surgical maneuvers by non-medical crew members.
Robots could be used for more complex interventions in the absence of a trained crew member. Earth-to-space telesurgery is yet to be attained. However, National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA] has successfully did several basic procedures at an underwater facility, simulated the space environment.
The communication delay between craft and earth is the main potential issue affecting telesurgery. For example a communication delay of radio signals between 4 and 22 minutes is expected between earth and Mars. Thus, available telesurgical capabilities are not suitable for a Mars mission. In addition, to facilitate endogenous repair of injured structures, the use of absorbable nanoparticulate scaffolds could offer temporary structure support, while eluting drugs stimulate endogenous mesenchymal stem cells to differentiate into osteoblasts. Otherwise, direct delivery of extrinsic mesenchymal stem cells to injured sites via nanoparticulate delivery system provide a reasonable alternative. The use of 3D printing allows fabrication of complex surgical tools from a computer-aided design template from a digital database of nearly each instrument. In addition, 3D-printed surgical tools may be disposable, meaning no requirement for space-occupying sterilization appliances.