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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Sept 25, 2006 5:51:44 GMT -6
Space Plane In Test Run For Zero-Gravity Surgery
Bordeaux, France (AFP) Sep 24, 2006 Harnessed to the walls, their surgical tools moored down with magnets, a team of French doctors are Wednesday to attempt the world's first human operation in zero-gravity, as a test run for performing surgery in space.
The aircraft enabling the pioneering operation is Zero-G, a plane designed and built by Europe to simulate gravity-free conditions, providing a priceless laboratory-in-the-sky to test out new technologies.
Working inside aa custom-made operating block, three surgeons, backed by two anaesthetists and a team of army parachutists, will remove a fatty tumour from the forearm of an intrepid volunteer over the course of a three-hour flight.
Miniature surgical tools, held in place with magnets placed around the patient's stretcher, will be used to adapt to the reduced size of the operating theatre, which was designed by a French elevator manufacturer.
"Today more than 400 people have already travelled into space. The chances of injuries occurring during missions will become ever greater -- and to bring a wounded person back to Earth for treatment is both risky for them and expensive," he explained.
His colleague Martin hopes one day to work with the ESA to develop an operating block for a future Moon base.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Sept 28, 2006 3:34:07 GMT -6
Doctors remove tumour in first zero-g surgery
French doctors carried out the world's first ever operation on a human in zero gravity on Wednesday, using a specially adapted aircraft to simulate conditions in space.
During a 3-hour flight from Bordeaux in southwest France, the team of surgeons and anaesthetists successfully removed a benign tumour from the forearm of a 46-year-old volunteer.
The custom-designed Airbus 300 aircraft – dubbed Zero-G – performed a series of parabolic swoops, creating about 20 seconds of weightlessness at the top of each curve. The process was repeated 32 times.
The patient, Philippe Sanchot, told reporters the operation was "really no big deal", although he said he was lifted "two or three centimetres" off the operating table each time zero gravity kicked in. "There were no surprises because we had rehearsed this over and over."
Martin said the experiment had confirmed that their equipment was suitable for use on board the International Space Station.