Sabrina Hellstern recognised that treatment in hospitals could be significantly improved if surgeons could finally get “true support”. Working with a team of medical practitioners, mechanical engineers and IT specialists, she has developed a surgeon support system that adapts to the body’s posture and uses intelligent motion tracking to support surgeons in any desired position at the operating table. “The name NOAC stands for ‘not only a chair’. This is because our system is neither a chair nor a robot, and isn’t an exoskeleton either – it’s completely new,” she stresses. “NOAC offers excellent freedom of movement, as well as absolute rigidity for precision surgery.” She is delighted this has now also been verified scientifically. In an interdisciplinary randomised crossover study with doctors as the test subjects, Dr. Justus Marquetand, a consultant at the Centre for Neurology at the University Hospital of Tübingen, investigated muscle fatigue in specific postures with and without the support system. The study was designed to simulate the situation of a surgeon leaning over an open abdomen at the operating table. Electromyography (EMG) was used to measure the muscle activities in the trial participants. From this, Dr. Marquetand concludes that the prototype of an external surgical support system reduces muscle fatigue significantly. “NOAC means the end of back pain for surgeons,” he says, summing up his findings.
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