In medicine, some of the most amazing breakthroughs occur in the field of surgery. By now, nearly any body part is replaceable, and surgery can mend even the most extreme injuries. Here is a list of some of the most amazing surgical breakthroughs we’ve seen in 2016.

Brain Implant Allows ALS Patient To Communicate Using Thought

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nervous system and eventually destroys all motor capabilities, including speech. For the first time ever this year, a device was implanted into the brain of a woman with ALS which allowed her to communicate using only her thoughts, CNN reported.

Read: These Are The 5 Highest Risk Operations

The implant is made up of probes which are inserted through holes in the skull. The probes are connected to a device located under her skin on her chest which sends data to a tablet attached to her wheelchair. The woman uses her thoughts to type out messages on the tablet.

Though slow and in need of much improvement, the tool is a major step forward in allowing individuals with ALS to regain some of the communication skills they lost to their disease.

World’s First Baby Born Using DNA From Three Parents

This year also brought us the first baby born using DNA from three parents. The process is used to prevent a mother from passing on a genetic disease. Though there have been past attempts to make a three-person baby, this child is the first to be born using a technique called spindle nuclear transfer.

The technique allows doctors to replace the mother’s mitochondrial DNA, which carries the genetic defect, with DNA from an individual without a genetic disease. As a result, the child has nuclear DNA from his mother and father, but mitochondrial DNA (which is only passed on from mothers) from a third donor.

Edit DNA In Human Embryo

2016 was a year of major innovations in fertility and genetics, with scientists also editing the DNA in a human embryo for the first time ever. The feat was done using a tool called CRISPR-Cas9 to modify the genes of healthy human embryos. Although the embryos were not allowed to survive long enough to reach full maturity, the hope is that one day, like three-parent babies, this procedure will prevent parents from passing on genetic diseases to their offspring, NPR reported.  

Artificial Placenta

The placenta is vital to a fetus’ development and survival, and when issues arise in the placenta, it often means the fetus will not survive. However, there may soon be a surgical solution to placental problems in pregnancy. In May, scientists used an artificial placenta for the first time ever to keep extremely premature lambs alive for a week.

The tool has not yet been tested on humans, but the success of the animal trial was enough for the project to gain a major grant from the National Institutes of Health.

First Robotic Surgery

In September, British doctors performed the world’s first ever robotic operation inside a patient’s eye. The patient was a 70-year-old man who needed a membrane removed from his retina. The surgery was carried out using a joystick and touchscreen to control a robotic surgeon. 

"This will help to develop novel surgical treatments for blindness, such as gene therapy and stem cells, which need to be inserted under the retina with a high degree of precision," said Professor Robert MacLaren, according to a statement from the University of Oxford. 

Read More:

8 Plastic Surgery Procedures You Didn't Know Were An Option: Read More

What’s The Most Popular Plastic Surgery In Your State? Google’s Top-Searched Procedures In The U.S.: Read Here