With healthcare and technology high on the agenda of the party conferences,
The institute is a showcase for medical innovation, bringing together engineers and clinicians in fields including systems biology, materials, imaging, nanotechnology, bionics, biomechanics and tissue engineering.
During the tour, the PM was shown the virtual operating theatre used for cardiac microsurgery in the medical imaging and robotics room.
The college’s director of medical imaging, Prof Guang-Zhong Yang, discussed the potential advantages and applications of robotic surgical devices, such as the Da Vinci robot. Health Minister and leading cancer surgeon Lord Darzi demonstrated a virtual medical procedure.
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.
Prof 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.’