Henry Ford Hospital creates operating room of the future with 3D technology taking robotic surgery to new levels

Detroit 08 June 2004Henry Ford Hospital has designed and built a new operating room with three-dimensional technology that takes modern robotic surgery to new levels. Surgical teams are now performing robotic surgery for prostate cancer with enhanced efficiency, comfort and communication using this unique technology. Aided by two 60-inch by 80-inch flat projection screens, advanced lighting, and a data monitoring and intercom system, the entire surgical team works in 3D wearing special polarized glasses.


In traditional robotic surgery, only the surgeon, who sits at a remote console controlling tiny instruments, has a magnified view. "This operating room is going to change the way operations are done. It is light years ahead of anything else that exists in the world", stated Mani Menon, M.D., director of Henry Ford's Vattikuti Urology Institute. "The benefit of everyone seeing in 3D is they are all synchronized. Everybody sees the same thing and it increases surgical precision by a quantum leap."

The enhanced technology also makes the operating room a powerful teaching tool, according to Dr. Menon. Images from the operating room can be sent, in 3D, anywhere in the world to help train other surgeons. "When a pilot takes a 747 off the ground, even if he's doing it for the first time, he's practised it 100 hours or 1000 hours in a simulator. When a trainee does an operation, the 3D screen virtually allows the assistants to do the same thing", Dr. Menon explained.

According to Dr. Menon, the "enhanced" reality operating room at Henry Ford is being used primarily for urological surgery. But it will be used in the future for other specialized procedures like heart, bariatric, vascular and orthopaedic surgeries.

"I think for precision work, when tissue handling is very important, when a millimeter makes a difference, 3D brings us that benefit", Dr. Menon stated. "Surgery is something that should be delicate and precise. It should be more like painting than construction work. And this OR helps you paint your way through an operation."

Currently, the operating room is being used to perform robot-assisted prostatectomy using the da Vinci computer-enhanced, minimally invasive surgery system. Using a tiny camera at the end of one laparoscope, the surgeon can operate miniaturized instruments at the end of other laparoscopes, all from a remote console with a 3D view. This allows the surgeon an unprecedented view of the surgical site. But up until now and the development of Henry Ford's new OR, the surgeon at the console was the only member of the team with this unique view.

Having performed more than 1000 cases, the Vattikuti Urology Institute has performed more robot-assisted prostatectomies than any other hospital in the world. With this procedure, the patient's pain, blood loss, risk of incontinence, impotence and recovery time in the hospital and at home are significantly reduced. With traditional radical prostatectomy, people are usually in the hospital for between two and three days. With robotic prostatectomy, most patients are discharged one day after surgery.

Leslie Versweyveld

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