Scientific And Medical Microtechnology
Several microtechnological applications exist in both science and medicine. Scientists use microscopes, micropipettes, microtomes, microelectrodes, and microcapsules in research. Surgeons use microscopes, micromanipulators, and microinstruments in microsurgery.
Scientists use microscopes to observe objects less than 0.004 in (0.1 mm) in diameter. Scientists can also make thin slices of microscopic substances, including living material, with a microtome. Micropipettes are miniature pipettes (hollow needles) used to inject substances into something else, such as a cell. Microelectrodes can measure an electrical charge across a cellular membrane; microelectrodes are also used to detect intracellular ionic flow that can signify other important changes in cells. Microcapsules release their contents at set temperatures and pressures and can be used in chemical, physical, and biochemical experiments to supply a substance at a set point.
In medical microsurgery, surgeons observe a patient's tissues through a microscope to make highly precise alterations to areas such as the eyes (cataract removal or corneal transplant), ears (middle ear bone replacement), larynx, blood vessels, cervix, fallopian tubes (obstruction removal), vas deferens (vasectomy reversal), and severed appendages and nerves. Microsurgery can be accomplished either with delicate surgical instruments held by the surgeon while viewing the surgical area under the microscope or by a micromanipulator using microinstruments. A micromanipulator is a human-guided or programmed machine (much like a robot) that manipulates microinstruments to perform surgical procedures. Lasers are invaluable to medical microsurgery because they can be used to make extremely precise surgical cuts. Laser surgery is also used to remove some skin lesions.