Surgeons could perform operations without cutting the skin by using a new magnetic manipulation technique, the scientists who invented it say. They hit upon the idea after seeing teenagers use strong magnets to attach jewelery to their lips without piercing them.
In animal tests, the researchers were able to remove a kidney using the technology. Magnets outside the body were used to position a camera and surgical tools within. More details at EurekaAlert.
Current laparoscopic surgery, commonly known as 'keyhole' surgery, requires several holes in the skin. The magnetic technique would reduce this to one easily concealed incision, or none in some cases, they say.
The scientists who developed the technique are based at the Southwestern Medical Center of the University of Texas
While the practice of attaching facial jewelery using powerful neodymium rare earth magnets inspired this innovative surgical procedure, doctors have reported cases where children or teenagers have injured themselves severely because the clamping force restricted blood flow. In some cases, the magnets were accidentally swallowed, causing internal injuries that required emergency surgery.
Note: Photo shows normal piercing, not magnetic attachment.