The Future Is Now: Advances in Technology Are Driving Medical Breakthroughs

The Future Is Now: Advances in Technology Are Driving Medical Breakthroughs

Medical technology advancements result in better diagnosis and patient care — often, saving lives.

Technology is changing all areas of medicine, including personal data collection, imaging, surgery and sterilization, to name a few. The following medical advancements make it easier for doctors to diagnose, treat and provide exceptional care to patients.

Da Vinci Robot

The Da Vinci Robot has been helping surgeons operate on patients since 2000. Used in thoracic, cardiac, urologic and spine surgery, the robots’ fours arms can hold a multitude of instruments to make incisions, remove organs, close incision points—all at the direction of the surgeon. Surgeons at Keck Medicine of USC perform more robotic surgeries than at any other hospital in the metro Los Angeles area.

“The advantage of the robotic procedure is that there is a much smaller incision with very little disruption of the soft tissue and minimal blood loss,” explains Patrick C. Hsieh, MD, associate professor of neurological surgery in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. In addition to more accuracy and efficiency, the surgeon suffers less fatigue during long procedures.

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Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a form of radiation therapy that focuses high-power energy on a small area of the body. Keck Medicine of USC doctors use several of these advanced tools, including the Gamma Knife®, CyberKnife®, and TrueBeam™ Stx. All procedures are conducted without an incision or general anesthesia, and patients are usually home the same day.

Gamma Knife®

“The Gamma Knife® is gold standard for the brain,” explains Steven L. Giannotta, MD, chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. The Gamma Knife® delivers a concentrated dose of radiation with pinpoint accuracy to a tumor or lesion in the brain. It combines data from three-dimensional computer images with the model of a head to focus radiation. Unlike traditional surgery, the Gamma Knife doesn’t contain a blade so there is no incision, which leaves surrounding healthy tissue untouched.

Eric L. Chang, MD, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC explains the importance of an expert team in addition to the advanced technology. “The Gamma Knife® platform, combined with our multidisciplinary team, allows us at Keck Medicine of USC to deliver the absolute best possible care for patients seeking treatments to complex disorders of the brain,” said Dr. Chang.

TrueBeam Stx Radio Therapy System

TrueBeam™ Stx is a noninvasive treatment for areas of the body other than the brain. The procedure does not require cutting, instead delivering a targeted beam of high-dose radiation to tumors or lesions with extreme accuracy. Used in various locations of the body and with image-guidance and computer-controlled robotics, it tracks the tumor’s position, detects any tumor or patient movement and automatically corrects treatment delivery.

TrueBeam™ is often used to treat head, neck, lung, liver and conditions close to organs, and takes significantly less time and offers more overall patient comfort than other similar treatments.

Xenex Ultraviolet Robot

The Xenex robot is a machine used to disinfect hospital rooms. After medical providers leave the room, the Xenex wheels into an infected area and emits an ultraviolet light. The light damages bacteria by penetrating the cell wall, destroying DNA and preventing germs from spreading. The UV-C light can kill pathogens such as Ebola, measles, VRE, c. difficile, MRSA and mold.

As the lines between medicine and technology continue to blur, Keck Medicine of USC is at the forefront, inventing, refining and finding new ways to diagnose disease and improve patient care.

By Heidi Tyline King

Learn more about these medical advancements by visiting or consult with your primary care physician. If you are local to Southern California and are in search of a primary care physician, call (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or visit to schedule an appointment.