Experts at Harborview Medical Center and the University of Washington are refining an ultrasound device that seals punctured lungs without invasive surgery, reports Science Daily. Just hold it over the affected area and push a button:
High-intensity focused ultrasound is now being investigated for a number of different treatments. It promises “bloodless surgery” with no scalpels or sutures in sight. Doctors would pass a sensor over the patient and use invisible rays to heal the wound. Researchers are exploring the use of high-intensity focused ultrasound – with beams tens of thousands of times more powerful than used in imaging – for applications ranging from numbing pain to destroying cancerous tissue.
In this case, lenses focus the high-intensity ultrasound beams at a particular spot inside the body on the patient’s lungs. Focusing the ultrasound beams, in a process similar to focusing sunlight with a magnifying glass, creates a tiny but extremely hot spot about the size and shape of a grain of rice. The rays heat the blood cells until they form a seal. Meanwhile the tissue between the device and the spot being treated does not get hot, as it would with a laser beam.