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Quyen Nguyen: Color-coded surgery

by: Linda Le | Thu, May 30, 2013 | innovation, TED

Textbooks conveniently color-code tissues to teach surgery but that’s not what it looks like in real life – until now. At TEDMED 2011 Dr. Nguyen demonstrates how a molecular marker can make tumors light up in neon green, showing surgeons exactly where to cut. At first glance, this is a seemingly straightforward and obvious approach – why hasn't this been thought of before? However, Dr. Nguyen's in-depth presentation reveals the ingenuity, complexity and team effort involved to make this possible.

There is no doubt that this medical breakthrough will be of tremendous assistance to medical professionals and patients alike. With this method, surgeries become more intuitive and accurate which in turn enhances the preservation of nerves and decreases the overall number of surgeries required to remove tumors. As nurse practitioners assume a greater role in the health care system, foolproof methods such as this help make surgeries more accessible and efficient which further enables nurses to practice to the full scope of their abilities.

Also notable in Dr. Nguyen’s presentation is the emphasis that collaboration is essential for medical breakthroughs such as this one: “Successful innovation is not a single breakthrough. It is not a sprint. It is not an event for the solo runner. Successful innovation is a team sport, it’s a relay race.” This medical development is a great example of teamwork yet it is only a small indication of what is achievable if individuals of all skills and capacities work together. There are endless opportunities to improve, enhance and innovate nursing and patient care – the next step is to gather the team to get us there.

We're excited by this innovation and the combined effort that made it possible. The prospects are truly endless when members of the medical community work together. We hope it inspires you too.

 

 

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