Karl Storz delivers latest advances in fully integrated operating room technology to St. Michael's Hospital

Culver City 05 February 2002Karl Storz Endoscopy-America Inc., a developer of diagnostic and operative endoscope technology, has installed two customised OR1 surgical suites at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada, home of the Minimal Access Therapeutics Programme. Surgeons will perform a wide range of advanced minimally invasive procedures in the facility, which will also function as a regional Center of Excellence in minimally invasive surgery.


OR1 surgical suites provide surgeons and operating room staff with a fully integrated operating room environment. Using sophisticated electronic guidance systems, OR1 provides centralised control of every component of the surgical suite, including overhead mounting systems, surgical lights, operating room tables, endoscopic equipment, cameras, video systems, and documentation solutions.

St. Michael's new OR1 facility provides it with capabilities for performing a broad range of advanced minimally invasive surgical procedures. These include laparoscopic biliary surgery, hiatal hernia repairs, and laparoscopic removal of gastro-intestinal, abdominal, and thoracic tumours. In fact, over 80 percent of body cavity surgeries performed at St. Michael's use minimally invasive techniques. Minimally invasive surgery is growing in popularity because it results in faster recuperation, shorter hospital stays, less complications, and reduced costs.

St. Michael's surgeons will also be able to assist with the diagnosis and treatment of patients worldwide thanks to a package of advanced capabilities in telemedicine and live tele-surgery. "OR1 is uniquely equipped to meet St. Michael's needs in the emerging field of telemedicine", stated Marcus Filipovich, OR1 Director, Karl Storz. "OR1 connects a wider range of people and resources both inside and outside the operating room with sophisticated video tele-conferencing, interlinking the operating room and electronic capture and archival of patient data."

As part of these sophisticated capabilities, surgeons at St. Michael's hospital will be able to view any OR1 procedure live from their office, simply by turning on a computer. They will also be able to manipulate camera-viewing angles and provide live input to the surgical team. Likewise, surgeons around the world will eventually be able to access live coverage by dialing a secure URL address into their Internet browser.

The surgical staff at St. Michael's hospital has already put these capabilities to good use with a live broadcast from the OR1 facility last month of a laparoscopic splenectomy and a laparoscopic colon resection. Over 190 surgeons and residents from across America and Canada participated in the broadcast, which incorporated a daylong training course.

"We are making constant strides to offer the latest advances in minimally invasive surgery to patients in the Greater Toronto Area. Our new OR1 facility embodies this ongoing commitment", stated Dr. Joseph Mamazza, director, Minimal Access Therapeutics Programme, St. Michael's Hospital. "Thanks to OR1's extensive capabilities in telemedicine, we will now be able to share these new technologies and treatments with surgeons from around the world."

Planning is already underway for dedication activities associated with the much anticipated opening of the OR1 facility. A team of design engineers from Karl Storz worked closely with a select group of surgeons and executive management at St. Michael's Hospital to create and install the new surgical suites.

St. Michael's Hospital is a Catholic research and teaching hospital, fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, specialising in minimal access therapeutics, heart and vascular disease, diabetes comprehensive care, inner city health, trauma, neurosurgery, and mobility disorders.

Karl Storz custom builds each OR1 facility to the client's specifications with essentially unlimited possibilities for the configuration of the surgical suite. St. Michael's Hospital selected OR1 in part due to its PC-based architecture, which meets the future needs of surgeons with rapid expansions in system capabilities and by incorporating the latest advances in medical technology. More news on Karl Storz' OR1 surgical suites can be found in the VMW December 2001 article Karl Storz delivers advanced surgical suites to new Texas Heart Institute's telemedicine centre.

Leslie Versweyveld

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