Categories
Biomedical Research

Reconstructive Plastic Surgery: An Overview and Technology’s Role

Introduction

Plastic surgery is often associated with cosmetic procedures, relating to the elective enhancement or change of one’s body or facial features. In the modern age, this has been popularized by social media influencers. Thus, plastic surgery has taken on a reputation of being non-vital and less important than other fields like neurosurgery or cardio-thoracic surgery. However, plastic surgery is not limited to this. Instead, reconstructive surgery is another vital segment.

Reconstructure plastic surgery, on the other hand, is not cosmetic. It is completed on patients suffering from conditions and complications such as cancer, trauma, and deformities. This is meant to normalize their appearance or improve bodily function. Reconstructive plastic surgery is considered to be extremely diverse with many new innovations. Technology, such as augmented reality or the use of three-dimensional imaging is an important and useful part of reconstructive plastic surgery [1,2].

Technology

A Japanese research group created an augmented reality system, allowing surgeons to create a three-dimensional version of the results over the original. This involves the use of smart glasses, which project the image over a patient’s face during the procedure. This was designed to be simple and efficient, guiding the surgeons and ideally minimizing mistakes [3,4]. 

More recently, researchers at The University of Michigan created new technology that can aid surgeons in complex reconstructive microsurgery cases. Known as the “arterial everter” this device with a pen-like structure can essentially make the process of connecting arteries more efficient and simple. The amount of time saved with this device is not only beneficial to the patient, but to doctors and to the healthcare system as well. To provide a scenario, if a patient’s arm is heavily severed due to an accident, this device can be extremely beneficial to the surgeons in this case[5].

At UC Davis, plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Wong, has tested the benefits of using a high-tech camera in certain surgical cases, such as breast reconstructions. This device generates three-dimensional images allowing patients to see how their end result might look like. The camera is big in size and has multiple arms and lenses which take pictures from different angles, and creates a 3-D rendering through the use of computer software. Not only does this technology allow patients to be more satisfied, but it also allows surgeons to improve the quality of their work[6]. 

Cases

The youngest patient to undergo a facial transplant–Kattie Stubblefield–had suffered a gunshot wound. The majority of her face was destroyed, and she experienced severe brain injury. After 31 hours, a team of 40 surgeons, and 2 operating rooms, the Cleveland Clinic finished Kattie’s surgery, which is known to be the most substantial face transplant. The procedure required the replacement of all her facial tissue including the scalp, eye sockets, facial muscles, and other components. The primary plastic surgeon working in this case—Dr. Brian Gastman, MD detailed how complex these facial procedures are. The facial tissues from the donor were cut so as to retain function while being transferred to the patient. Then, augmented reality allowed her surgeons to know where to cut and to improve the placement. The use of augmented reality, in this case, comes with many benefits. According to Dr. Gastman, this technique allowed doctors to create ideas in advance and do more extensive modeling. 

Overall, technology in reconstructive plastic surgery has proven to be extremely beneficial, as it allows for fewer mistakes, better results, patients are more likely to be satisfied, and it can even make for a better teaching tool.

References

  1. Cosmetic vs Reconstructive Surgery ” UF Health Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics Center ” UF Academic Health Center ” University of Florida. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2020, from https://plastics.ufhealth.org/plastic-surgery-resources/knowledge-center/cosmetic-vs-reconstructive-surgery/
  1. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. (2019, December 28). Retrieved September 15, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/plastic-reconstructive-surgery-mayo-clinic/sections/overview/ovc-20473067
  2. Augmented Reality Technology May Help Guide Facial Reconstructive Surgery. (2017, November 28). Retrieved September 02, 2020, from https://www.enttoday.org/article/augmented-reality-technology-may-help-guide-facial-reconstructive-surgery/
  3. How is technology transforming facial reconstruction surgery? – Medical Technology: Issue 25: March 2020. (2020, March 06). Retrieved September 02, 2020, from https://medical-technology.nridigital.com/medical_technology_mar20/how_is_technology_transforming_facial_reconstruction_surgery
  4. Byline:, & News, N. (n.d.). U-M signs agreement for reconstructive surgery technology. Retrieved September 15, 2020, from https://record.umich.edu/articles/u-m-signs-agreement-reconstructive-surgery-technology/
  5. UC Davis Health, D. (n.d.). UC Davis plastic surgeon testing high-tech camera. Retrieved September 15, 2020, from https://health.ucdavis.edu/plasticsurgery/news/high_tech_camera.html

Kim, Y., Kim, H., & Kim, Y. (2017, May). Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in Plastic Surgery: A Review. Retrieved September 15, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5447526/

Categories
Health and Disease

Melanoma: 5 Types of Skin Cancer

Melanoma is a form of a skin cancer that develops from melanocytes, the cells that produce the pigment (melanin) for one’s skin. The exact cause of melanoma is unidentified, however, studies have shown how melanoma can be caused due to an unhealthy amount of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV light). The most common types of melanoma include nodular melanoma, lentigo maligna, superficial spreading, and acral lentiginous. Ocular melanoma is classified as an uncommon or rare type of melanoma skin cancer.

Superficial Spreading Melanoma

As superficial spreading melanoma makes up 70% of all types of melanoma skin cancers, it is classified as the most common type of melanoma. It can appear in a mole or it can spread to new, deeper areas within the patient’s body. The process of the cancer spreading across the skin’s surface is known as radial growth, while the process of the cancer spreading deeper within the patient is known as vertical growth. A superficial spreading melanoma is known to appear everywhere on a person’s body. However typically for males it can be found on their torso or upper back and for females it can be found on their legs or upper back. It typically starts on the central body part. When trying to find this type, look for a flat or thin and a discolored or asymmetrical patch with rough surroundings. In terms of color, this type is known to appear in shades tan, brown, red, pink, lack, white, or blue. But, it can also lack pigment and look like a melanotic lesion.

Lentigo Maligna

Lentigo melanoma is commonly found in the older population. In terms of statistics, this melanoma skin cancer makes up approximately somewhere in between 10 to 15 percent of all the four main types. This type of cancer begins by growing near one’s skin or one’s epidermis before spreading to other areas of the human body. It mainly starts in those areas of the skin that are the most affected by sun damage. Like the superficial spreading melanoma, lentigo maligna looks flat or thin patch with a rough surrounding. Its colors range from tan to brown, dark brown, or blue-black. In its initial stages of growth on a patient’s skin, this type is known as Lentigo Maligna. But as the years go by and this disease starts affecting deeper parts of the human body, this disease known as lentigo maligna melanoma.

Acral lentiginous melanoma

Acral lentiginous melanoma is generally found in populations with darker skin tones or those with more melanin. For example, it is common for those with an African or HIspanic background to contract this disease. Acral lentiginous melanoma accounts for less than 5 percent of all the types of melanoma and is not caused by sun exposure. They appear in less obvious places within the human body, such as underneath one’s finger nails, making it harder to accurately diagnose and identify it in patients. To the human eye, they generally look like a flat and small spot of skin and are either black or dark brown.

Nodular Melanoma

After superficial spreading melanoma, Nodular Melanoma takes the place of the most common type of skin cancer, by making up approximately 15 to 20% of all types. It is known to spread the most quickly out of all the other types of melanoma and it tends to grow deep into one’s skin. Nodular Melanoma resembles a polypoid, as the lesion itself tends to to stick out from the patient’s skin. In terms of color, it can be black, pink, red, or mimic your skin color. Typically, this disease begins on one’s chest, face, back, or any part of the skin that receives minimal sun exposure.

Ocular Melanoma

Ocular melanoma, the type that takes place in one’s eye affects the cells that create pigment. Making up only 3% of all types of melanoma, ocular melanoma is classified as a very rare disease. However it takes the place as the most common type of eye cancer that occurs in adults.This disease begins in the second or the middle layer of the eye, which is known as the uvea. It is uncommon to find this type of melanoma to affect the conjunctiva of a patient’s eye. Due to the fact that ocular melanoma develops in the middle part of the eye, it isn’t possible for one to notice it in their day to day life, unlike other forms of melanoma. Making it even harder to find, ocular melanoma doesn’t cause any sort of symptoms or early signs of its appearance.

References:

Types of melanoma skin cancer – Canadian Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/skin-melanoma/melanoma/types-of-melanoma/?region=on

Melanoma. (2020, March 10). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/melanoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20374884

Melanoma. (2020, June 19). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/melanoma/

The Seven Different Types of Melanoma Skin Cancer. (2019, October 03). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://melanomaknowmore.com/types-of-melanoma/

Categories
Biomedical Research

A Systematic Method of Testing, Tracking and Predicting Outbreaks Using a Global Database

Abstract

The purpose of this proposal is to establish a systematic method of testing and tracking to prevent another pandemic. This method depends on the creation of a global database and the use of generic viral testing, antigen testing, and data analysis prediction models. Essentially, this will (a) detect whether a person has contracted a specific disease or virus, (b) detect the severity of the disease within an infected person, (c) provide data for further research on the vaccine or treatment of certain diseases, analyze (d) percentage of population affected by a certain disease and (e) predict which part of the world may experience an outbreak of a certain disease.

Introduction

The COVID-19 global pandemic has impacted the world, by causing numerous deaths, negatively impacting economies, and bringing unemployment rates to a historical high. Implementing a standard method of testing at various ports of entry, such as border control, with testing for different infectious diseases will help prevent the recurrence of another pandemic. 

Testing 

The subject’s DNA sample and general information (ie. recent places visited, and if they have been recently infected with a contagious disease) would be collected. The DNA sample would be sent to the cloud, a database with DNA samples (from various countries organizations and companies) of different contagious diseases. The cloud would have DNA samples of the specific strains of each disease and the different densities for each disease. If the subject is tested positive for a specific disease, the DNA sample will also be matched with a specific density. Based on the results of this, the viral exposure density of the initial stage will determine the severity of the disease within a person. The individual will receive a specific course of treatment. If the positively-tested individual recovers, they may be randomly asked to take an antibody test to provide further data about the immunity against specific diseases. 

Tracking and Predicting

By constantly analyzing the data, researchers can track the diseases that are affecting the majority of the population. The general information would help researchers in using data analysis prediction models to predict where a specific outbreak could occur. 

Potential Pitfalls and Solutions

Privacy is a major issue, as people may not be willing to voluntarily share their data. A potential solution includes the creation of a policy to ensure the security of people’s data. Additionally, genomic sequencing is an expensive method. Alternative methods such as PCR and qPCR can be used instead. However, these methods come with some disadvantages, as PCR may produce false negative and positive results. PCR, qPCR, and genomic sequencing can each be tested individually to decide which is more beneficial.

Conclusion

Although the world has been impacted by COVID-19 global pandemic, this does not mean that COVID-19 is the only disease that can cause a pandemic in the future. Any other contagious disease without a vaccine can potentially cause a pandemic. A systematic method of testing and tracking to prevent outbreaks will decrease the chances of another pandemic.

Works Cited

  1. A Compendium of Models that Predict the Spread of COVID-19: AHA. https://www.aha.org/guidesreports/2020-04-09-compendium-models-predict-spread-covid-19.
  2. COVID-19 and unemployment: How to cope. (2020, May 19). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coping-with-unemployment/art-20485976.
  3. The Global Economic Outlook During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Changed World. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2020/06/08/the-global-economic-outlook-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-a-changed-world.
  4. Gu, W., Miller, S., & Chiu, C. Y. (2019, January 24). Clinical Metagenomic Next-Generation Sequencing for Pathogen Detection. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6345613/.
  5. Hasman, H., Saputra, D., Sicheritz-Ponten, T., Lund, O., Svendsen, C. A., Frimodt-Møller, N., & Aarestrup, F. M. (2014, January 1). Rapid Whole-Genome Sequencing for Detection and Characterization of Microorganisms Directly from Clinical Samples. https://jcm.asm.org/content/52/1/139.
  6. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Emerging Microbial Threats to Health in the 21st Century. (1970, January 1). Pathogen Discovery, Detection, and Diagnostics. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK221492/.
  7. National Laboratory of Enteric Pathogens, Bureau of Microbiology, Laboratory Centre for Disease Control. (1991). The polymerase chain reaction: An overview and development of diagnostic PCR protocols at the LCDC. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3327995/.
  8. Nicholas P. Jewell, P. D. (2020, May 19). Mathematical Models Predicting the COVID-19 Pandemic. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2764824.
  9. Smith, C. J., & Osborn, A. M. (2008, December 9). Advantages and limitations of quantitative PCR (Q‐PCR)‐based approaches in microbial ecology. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1574-6941.2008.00629.x.
  10. Test for Current Infection. (2020, May 10). https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/diagnostic-testing.html.
  11. Test for Past Infection (Antibody Test). (2020, May 23). https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/serology-overview.html.
  12. United States Coronavirus (COVID-19) Death Toll Surpasses 100,000. (2020, May 28). https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/s0528-coronavirus-death-toll.html.
  13. Washington, J. A. (1996, January 1). Principles of Diagnosis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK8014/.
  14. Yang, S., & Rothman, R. E. (2004, June). PCR-based diagnostics for infectious diseases: uses, limitations, and future applications in acute-care settings. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7106425/.