The zero gravity environment of space presents astronauts with many challenges. What are simple tasks on earth become carefully choreographed maneuvers in space. Added to that is the limited access to resources. So what happens when you have to perform a complicated and delicate task like emergency surgery?
While cruising a couple hundred miles above the earth in the ISS it is possible to make an emergency trip back to earth. That option is not viable for extended space flights. To that end, Dr. George Pantalos of the University of Lousville’s Cardiovascular Innovation Institute is developing the technology to make “astro surgery” possible.
lood, like all fluids in space, forms floating droplets that drift everywhere if not contained. This means that all surgical fields need to be fully contained and controlled. To that end, Dr. Pantalos developed an airtight, watertight surgical container that is secured over the surgical field and pumped full of saline to control bleeding. Transonic tubing flow measurements are used to monitor the flow of saline into the surgical structure. Ports in the surgical container would allow for access to the site for a laparoscopic-type procedure. Dr. Pantalos’s team has tested their design on several trips in NASA’s zero-gravity jet with great success.
Check out the report by Research Minute: