Not just a Mere Spectacle: Laparoscopic Sterilization Using Sun Rays!

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Thu, Mar 10, 2011 — Jaideep Majumdar

Innovation to help people accomplish seemingly impossible tasks provides satisfaction and boosts the confidence of the individual or team undertaking such action. India is a country with huge diversity in almost every aspect of life, innovations are a way for achieving solutions, be it a simple task or a complicated problem. Even though our country probably provides the best opportunities to improvise and apply new and profound ideas in getting around problems, the fact remains that customs and practices shackle the thought process from trying something new. Still there are individuals and groups who collectively try to turn adversities into advantages and consider them to be chances for coming up with something new.

India along with China is among the fastest growing countries in the world in terms of population. Implementing family planning measures has therefore been a priority for the Government of India for some time now.  Sterilization is one of the most common voluntary contraceptive methods and is a thrust area for the Indian Family Welfare Program. Most of such contraception in women has been achieved through laparoscopic sterilization under local anesthesia. The word laparoscopy is derived from a Greek word which means "looking inside the abdomen". For the laparoscopic operation to be performed the doctor uses a device called a laparoscope, which actually resembles a telescope, to look at the pelvic organ and identify the fallopian tube to cut or block it thus arresting the chance of pregnancy. The laparoscope is fitted with an optical fiber made up of the core, the cladding and buffer coating. The operation is highly dependent on the skill of the doctor though it can easily be performed in camps and out-patient wards.

 The rural innards of India have places where uninterrupted electrical power supply is a luxury. Power cut range between 3 to 14 hours of a day. In the remote areas of rural Madhya Pradesh, doctors performing laparoscopic sterilization in laparoscopic tubec-tomy (LTT) camps had to do some serious thinking on the issue of alternative power sourcing for carrying out the operations. The first such camp has setup in block Mawai, 45 kilometers from the district HQ of Mandala, Madhya Pradesh. 62 women were registered for the LTT camp and the camp was to start at 5 p.m. A power failure coupled with the failure of three standby generators stalled the operations and 18 out of the 62 women left the camp. The next morning the doctors decided to use solar power to carry out the operation.

Sun rays was sourced through a rearview mirror of a motorcycle and directed into the operation theatre through a glass window. The beam of light was focused to a point with the help of a convex lens of a pair of spectacles. One end (distal end) of the optical fiber cable was adjusted to the point where the light was focused and the other end (primal end) was fixed to a device called laprocator. The intensity of the light focused was just sufficient to visualize the fallopian tubes and thus complete the task efficiently. Sunlight was the alternate source used in place of the usual light source of a halogen lamp (150 W /220 V) which reflected light that passed through an optical fiber cable attached to the laparoscope.

Laparoscopic Sterilization Using Sun Rays

As per the "Current Science" issue of February 2011, out of 44 cases of operation being carried out in this manner, 42 have been reported to be successful.  50 such operations had to be carried out at other camps. The process was simulated at the Department of Physics, Rani Durgawait University, Jabalpur and the light intensity from sunlight was measured on a Lux meter and compared to the intensity of light from the halogen lamps and found to be equivalent.

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