Robot help in O-R; t'ai chi for stroke rehab

April 12, 2009 11:44:19 AM PDT
Easing surgery for heavy people; faster stroke recovery


The ancient chinese practice of t'ai chi may be a big help for patients recovering from strokes.

Hong Kong researchers have found that t'ai chi improves their balance better than other forms of exercise and therapy.

The t'ai chi followers had significant improvement in shifting weight, reaching, and maintaining stability.

And the improvements came in as little as 6 weeks.



Many operations these days are done laparascopically - using just small incisions, and a viewing tube.

The technique reduces the recovery time, and usually, the pain.

But a new study shows that adding the help of tiny robotic hands to do the actual cutting and suturing might improve the outcome even more.

A team at Ohio State University Cancer Hospital studied hysterectomies. They found women who had robotic surgery lost two and a half times less blood than women who had traditional hysterectomies.

That means the women were less likely to need a blood transfusion.

And it cut their hospital stay in half.

It was especially good for heavier women, and especially for gynecologic surgery, such as hysterectomies.

Dr. Jeffrey Fowler, of the James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State University, says, "That's the group of patients that really benefit the most from the minimally invasive procedure, in terms of decrease in surgical complications."

Other studies show robot-assisted operations also have lower infection rates.

JoAnn Spragg is happy the surgical robot was in the operating room, when she had her hysterectomy.

"It was still major surgery, but compared to what I would have gone through, it was a lot less," Spragg says.

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