Today, this May the 4th I thought it would be good to dig into how Star Wars and medicine are tied together, how does star wars influence medicine today and vice versa?
As with medicine today one of the major and newer technologies is robotic surgery and robotic assist. Surgical robots, such as the da Vinci surgical system, allow surgeons to perform with greater precision and require smaller incisions. In a robotic surgery, the surgeon controls robotic arms with a remote manipulator or a computer. Common robot-assisted surgeries include prostate cancer tumor removal and bariatric surgery.
While they don’t quite exist today, there are a couple of things that are related. We have hyperbaric oxygen tanks which can treat things like faster wound healing.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a treatment option that involves a person breathing almost pure oxygen in a special room or small chamber. Evidence suggests that HBOT may have a variety of applications, including the promotion of wound healing. Due to this, it may help treat diabetic foot ulcers.
Additionally, we have gels that help faster healing and ease pain, although you most likely don’t want to bathe in them.
Two of the most popular pain-reducing gels include Voltaren and lidocaine. If you’ve ever used an Icy Hot Lidocaine Patch after a painful workout, you’re not too far off from Boba Fett (minus the whole bounty hunter thing).
Each of these gels works differently, but their biochemical processes offer some insight into how the gel in the bacta tank might ease Boba Fett’s pain.
“Lidocaine is a local anesthetic. Local anesthetics work by blocking the sodium channel” in nerves, Ibrahim says. The sodium channel is necessary for nerves to receive and send signals, thereby blocking sensory signals that cause pain.
“Think of a nerve as an electrical wire that transmits an electrical signal,” he explains. “The sodium channels allow for that signal to go from point A to point B.”
When it comes to the skin repairing aspect of the bacta tank, lidocaine wouldn’t work so well, but studies show that aloe vera — a plant used since ancient times to heal wounds — may prove helpful.
Apparently, there were no OBs in Starwars though. Consider Episode III where Padme dies giving birth. (Spoiler alert… oops too late.) She hadn’t had an ultrasound until birth. She apparently never had a prenatal checkup because she didn’t even know she had twins.
Also, the lack of medical options is why Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side and decided to murder a bunch of kids. Think about that. Because he’s worried about Padme dying while giving birth, he wants to learn the dark side of the force to find a way to prolong her life. No discussion about finding the best medical people around like the best OBGYN. It’s not like she’s poor either, she’s a sitting senator in the Galactic Republic. Even if they are hiding the fact that Anikin is the father, she still has a baby bump that she’s not hiding.
Anakin gets three limbs chopped off and then falls into hot lava. He lives.
Padme has both Luke and Leia, under medical supervision, and dies.
We have the fortune today to at least have painkillers. The Star Wars universe apparently does not.
Anakin is screaming in pain here, all these robots are working on him, and they didn’t have anything to numb the senses? They put the mask on his face while his face is missing skin here and there. Ew.
May the Fourth Be With You!