Ireland's first digital surgery unit opens in Mater hospital

Ireland's first digital surgery unit opens in Mater hospital

A new cutting-edge surgery unit that will improve outcomes for cancer patients has opened at the Mater hospital.

Ireland's first digital surgery unit will initially focus on treating bowel cancer.

This ground-breaking technology helps surgeons to make better and faster decisions when they have a cancer patient on the operating table.

If they spot some tissue that they're concerned about, they can dye it and use new world-leading technology to access if the tissue is unhealthy and should be removed.

Professor Ronan Cahill says it means they can make a well-informed decision while in theatre.

"Rather than just going on the probability of what works for most people and that's really what digital surgery is allowing us to do, to personalise the decisions we're making to that specific person at that specific time of the operation," said Prof Cahill.

Personalising operations in this way decreases the chances of post-surgery complications.

Dr Pól MacAonghusa from IBM Research says the complications from bowel surgery can be life-changing.

"Not being able to correctly isolate the area of surgery can result in you having a colostomy bag for the rest of your life," Dr MacAonghusa said.

2,700 Irish people get bowel cancer every year, and surgery is the best chance of a cure.

This new research significantly reduces the risk of infection and damage to important organs.

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