In today’s most excellent article at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette we read about a new endonasal neurosurgery suite recently opened at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). The press release describes this state of the art facility:
The operating suite is the result of collaboration between UPMC and Karl Storz Endoscopy-America Inc., which worked closely with surgeons at the University of Pittsburgh in its design. The suite maximizes the benefits of minimally invasive surgery to patients and surgeons by using the latest electronic control systems to seamlessly integrate devices and the many environmental components of the room including lighting, operating room tables, endoscopic equipment and cameras.
The surgical technique, called Endoscopic Transnasal Brain Surgery, also known as expanded endonasal approach (EEA), was refined by UPMC surgeons and represents an advancement in surgeons’ abilities to remove benign and malignant tumors, some as large as baseballs. After the surgery, in many cases, patients are discharged within a few days with no incisions or scars and few side effects…
The UPMC/Karl Storz collaboration also has led to the fabrication of special endoscopic instruments to see inside the skull, drills to gain access and tools to remove the tumors without damaging delicate blood vessels or nerves.
Surgeons also use computerized mapping systems similar to GPS that enable them to more assuredly navigate the brain through the nasal opening…
The main features of this futuristic operating room are the powerful electronics that allow for unsurpassed connectivity within the room. These are linked to physicians’ offices, the observation gallery, the boardroom and via the Internet to distant locations. Data sources include digital video from the endoscope, the microscope, the image guidance system and room cameras. The room is specifically designed to capture high quality digital video from the surgical endoscope and display it on monitors suspended from the ceiling. The images also are sent to large plasma screens within the operating room and in the observation gallery.
A telestration system, similar to that used by commentators during televised football games, allows the surgeon to highlight anatomical structures of interest on the screen and facilitates intraoperative communication and teaching by providing real time remote feedback on all the operating displays. Using this device, the surgeon can guide the surgery, discuss the surgical plan or teach. Numerous cameras are mounted throughout the suite and are connected by two-way voice technology to facilitate live lectures, didactic courses or real-time cases to or from remote sites.