Researchers at France's Montpellier Laboratory of Informatics, Robotics, and Microelectronics have developed a computerized three-dimensional (3D) model that enables surgeons to use robots to operate on a beating heart. The technology predicts the movement of the heart as it beats and enables the surgeon to perform a procedure as if the heart was stationary. The researchers say the model could make possible less invasive surgical heart procedures.
The robotic technology, known as the thin-plate spline deformable model, anticipates the movement of the heart and the movement of a breathing chest wall. The approach relies on a mathematical representation of the heart's surface as it moves in three dimensions. The 3D model predicts the heart's movements in a single step, making it faster in real surgical environments. The researchers say the 3D model will have multiple surgical applications, particularly in less invasive procedures that require a high level of precision and could have life-altering consequences.
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