This story is like a part two of the practical applications of science and technology just as in the case of the world's first oceanic drone rescue that I wrote about recently. Now, we are examining how Science and Technology can help cure a birth defect in children.
Oesophageal atresia is a rare genetic disease, in which the upper and lower sections of a baby's oesophagus don't connect because there's a gap between them. Scientists from the University of Sheffield and Boston Children's Hospital led by Dr. Dana Damian,have created what may be a better way of treating the condition, in the form of an implantable robotic device.
In a normal condition, oesophageal atresia is ordinarily treated using a surgical technique known as the Foker procedure. It involves utilizing sutures to pull on the two ends of the oesophagus, encouraging them to grow toward one another over time.
Irrespective of the fact that the technique is one of the best standards, sometimes the sutures surgeons attach to the oesophagus can tear which can result in repetitive surgeries or scar tissue can form that can cause problems for the patient in the future."
Herein comes the Robotic Device. It is implanted alongside the oesophagus, and is attached to the organ via two rings . Using an electric motor, it then gradually applies pressure, gently pulling the two ends of the oesophagus toward each other.
Sensors in the device carefully measure and adjust the tension of the tissue. That tension doesn't simply stretch the tissue, but actually promotes new cell growth.
Furthermore, the device is powered by an external control unit, which is attached to a vest that the baby wears. This means that the infant can remain relatively mobile and active while undergoing treatment.
By contrast, babies that have received the Foker procedure must remain largely immobile throughout the treatment period (they're typically sedated), so that they don't pull out the sutures.