'Medical Tricorder' Uses Ultrasound To Heal

By Michelle
September 4, 2007 - 9:24 PM

A device that resembles Star Trek's medical tricorder uses high-intensity focused ultrasound rays to repair punctured lungs at the Harborview Medical Center, which is working with the University of Washington to hone the equipment.

"No one has ever looked at treating lungs with ultrasound," bioengineering professor Shahram Vaezy told SpaceRef.com. "The results are really impressive," he added, but the technique is not yet being tested on humans.

No longer merely a diagnostic tool, ultrasound is being used to develop bloodless surgery techniques requiring no scalpels, allowing invisible rays to heal injuries. The focused beams create an extremely hot spot in the tissue, heating the blood cells until they cauterise the wound without generating heat through the surrounding tissue as a laser would.

"You can penetrate deep into the body and deliver the energy to the bleeding very accurately," Vaezy explained, Tests on the lungs of pigs showed that the ultrasound could seal injuries in under two minutes.

The original article is at SpaceRef.com.

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