MOHAMED A. IMAM, MARTYN SNOW
Advances in surgical practice have always depended upon the introduction of enabling technologies. In the mid 19th century, the introduction of anaesthesia enabled surgeons to develop procedures to remove diseased or damaged tissues. In the mid 20th century, the advent of antibiotics and greater understanding of biocompatibility issues allowed surgeons to replace damaged tissues; the introduction of immunosuppressive therapies extended this technology to transplantation of whole organs. In the latter years of the 20thcentury, advances in computer and imaging technologies provided the tools needed to develop endoscopic interventions. These enabled surgeons to remove diseased tissues with less collateral damage and begin to repair damaged tissues in situ. The 21st century has seen the nascence of stem cell technologies. Surgeons are now seeking ways to employ stem cells to regenerate damaged tissues.
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