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One problem was that, during open surgery, the intestines would float around, obscuring the view of the surgical field. To deal with this, space travellers should opt for minimally invasive surgical techniques, such as keyhole surgery, ideally occurring within patients’ internal cavities through small incisions using a camera and instruments.
A laparoscopy was recently carried out on fake abdomens during a parabolic “zero-gravity” flight, with surgeons successfully stemming traumatic bleeding. But they warned that it would be psychologically hard to carry out such a procedure on a crewmate.
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There is a wealth of research and preparation for the possible event of a surgical emergency during a Mars mission, but there are many unknowns, especially when it comes to diagnostics and anaesthesia. Ultimately, prevention is better than surgery. So selecting healthy crew and developing the eng...
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But how likely is it that an astronaut will actually need surgery?
As well as distance, the extreme environment faced during transit to and on Mars includes
Robotic surgery is another option that has been used routinely on Earth and tested for planetary excursions.
The surgeries carried out in space so far have revealed that a large amount of support equipment is essential. This is a luxury the crew may not have on a virgin voyage to Mars.
When orbiting or settled on Mars, however, we would ideally need a hypothetical “traumapod”, with radiation shielding, surgical robots, advanced life support and restraints.
Bodily fluids will also behave differently in space and on Mars. The blood in our veins may stick to instruments due to surface tension.
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In times of uncertainty or fear, it can be especially daunting deciding whether a child should be exposed to a topic that is frightening.
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