With swift medical advancements being made every day, it’s sometimes hard to imagine that even 100 years ago antibiotics, successful organ transplants, and standard dental procedures were crudely done or nonexistent. Following are six of the most amazing medical advancements made in the past 100 years.
Robotic surgery allows a surgeon to perform surgery using small tools attached to robotic arms which mimics the surgeons movements. Utilizing a tiny camera attached to a thin tube, the surgeon can view images of your body as surgery takes place. The benefits of robotic surgery are many, and include a skilled surgeon being able to perform surgery on a patient while in another city or even another country, and less invasive surgery due to the accompanying smaller tools and endoscopic procedures.
Organ transplanting has existed on rare occasions for centuries. However, until recent decades the survival rate among transplant hosts was very low. For example, In 1968 heart surgeon Denton Cooley performed 17 transplants, including the first heart-lung transplant, yet 14 of his patients were dead within six months of the operation. Not only are modern organ transplant survival rates significantly higher, the scope of successful transplants continues to increase.
While artificial limbs have been around for centuries, modern advancements in prosthetics have eclipsed the rudimentary wooden legs of the past. Increasingly lifelike silicone prosthetics are now created from molds and can even include artificial bone under a silicone sleeve, and myoelectric limbs are controlled by converting muscle movements to electrical signals, and take the place of rudimentary cable-operated limbs.
These simple medical devices used for opening airways and delivering medication to the body are often life-saving for asthma sufferers. In addition, inhalers are used to treat influenza, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by delivering medication and oxygen.
Dental health is considered an integral part of overall health, yet until very recently dental surgery has relied on materials too weak to withstand long-term use, resulting in unsightly cosmetic issues and loss of strength over time. Advancements in dental restoration have made it possible to permanently address structural loss due to dental disease and external trauma. In dental surgery and implants, long-term success depends on fast healing and safe integration into the jaw bone. Modern dental machining advancements have made it possible to produce dental implants and artificial tooth components made with ultra strong alloys that are both visually appealing and strong enough to hold up over time.
Before antibiotics were discovered in laboratories and made widely available in the 20th century, infections were mainly treated with herbal cures and medicinal folklore. Antibiotics are now widely available, and while antibiotic resistant bacteria is an increasing threat, the fact is that antibiotics continue to save countless lives that previously would have been lost to infections.
Even if you’ve never had any need for these medical advancements (if you haven’t, you’re lucky), we should all be happy they exist. All of these advancements are practically at our fingertips and readily available if we ever have need of them. So consider yourself lucky to live in a time where advancements are almost a weekly occurrence, as opposed to a once-in-a-decade kind of thing.