Overview of Surgery
Over the years, surgery has made tremendous progress while changing human perspective; viewed as “no more science than butchery” a couple of centuries ago to now considered to be a solution for many health care problems, such as cancer, heart disease and kidney failure. Nevertheless, surgery has not been perfected to a level that provides great results every time it is performed on patients. For example, surgery done on cancer patients to remove tumors has a forty-five percent success rate (Cancer Research UK, 2013). However, in order to be successful, the surgical procedure has to be performed very precisely. And incomplete removal of tumors can decrease the patient’s survival rate and potential of future build up. Therefore, surgeons have to be able to recognize diseased tissue and distinguish it between healthy tissues. However, even with the use of radioactive tracers and visuals, surgeons are not able to identify the exact site of the infected area and its boundaries. Thus, almost 40% of the time cancerous cells are left behind. Even the best qualified physicians are not successful at the nanotechnological scale of tissue.
One of the solutions to this problem is the size of the surgical tools, which are million times bigger compared to a single cell. In 1959, Richard Feynman, an engineer, proposed a solution for this problem by suggesting the idea of nanoscale surgical tools for more accurate diagnosis and assessment (Strickland, 2014). Today, Feynman’s initiative is being achieved and many microscopic tools have already been developed for greater precision and faster healing; nanoscale tweezers, microscopic scalpels and nanoparticles.
At the moment, the main objective for scientists and engineers is to develop surgery into a minimally invasive method and nanotechnology has made great advances by helping surgeons recognize diseases and perform operations. Currently, nanobots also known as nanorobots, shown in Figure 1.1, are in their first stages of development and being improved for greater results. The Chemistry 12, Nelson states “Nanotechnology has led to the possibility of molecule size nanomachines that could one day work inside cells and tissues to treat diseases.” Therefore, these close to the scale of a nanometer machineries will allow internal surgery to be done from the inside of the body, on hearts, cancerous cells and many more diseased organs. This growing field of technology has made tremendous progress up until today and it is predicted that in the next 25 years, nanorobots will be used for relevance in life sciences and medicine.
Early Stage Nanomachines
In 2010, a nanodragster was built at Rice University, which was about 50,000 times thinner than a human hair, shown in Figure 1.2. The structure of this miniscule vehicle has two big rear wheels made of 60 carbon atoms for a strong grip and smaller front wheels made of the compound, p-carborane(American Chemical Society, 2010). Also, the chassis were...