Technologic innovation is a major driver of surgical advances. Founded by the Department of Otolaryngology in 2017, Pittsburgh CREATES (Collaborative Research, Education And Technology Advancement in Surgery) is a collaboration between medical industry, bioengineers, and surgeons to develop new surgical technology and train the next generation of surgeons in the use of advanced surgical technologies. The major focus is on minimally invasive surgical techniques such as robotic surgery, which employs endoscopes for visualization and robotically controlled instruments for greater surgical precision. With Pittsburgh CREATES, medical device companies have the opportunity to get feedback on the design and usability of new medical devices and train surgeons on the proper use of equipment in a simulated operating room environment. In some cases, inventors of new surgical technologies at the University of Pittsburgh can partner with companies to further develop their ideas. Pittsburgh CREATES also generates opportunities for bioengineers from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering to gain valuable experience working with major medical device companies and explore employment opportunities.
The Center for Advanced Robotics Training (CART) and the Center for Robotic Surgery for the Department of Otolaryngology are investigating new ways to utilize robotic equipment to perform difficult procedures with minimal invasiveness and far less trauma than traditional head and neck cancer surgeries. In the past, procedures to remove tumors in the back of the throat or base of the skull required highly invasive movements, that sometimes including breaking open the jaw, removing large parts of the neck or skull, and otherwise leaving large, visible scars, and related physical difficulties. Robotic surgery, however, removes these difficulties by using delicate tools that can weave through natural passageways in the body to more delicately remove tumors.
For more information, visit the Robotic Head & Neck Surgery Center.