Longtime contributor Dr. Steven Palter of docinthemachine.com tipped us off recently to his amazing hi-def exploits in the OR. Before we could act on this hot info (hey, many of us are on summer vacation), the story’s broken over on Engadget.com, along with a vigorous discussion of why the surgical community is slow to adopt HD… and an enlightening discourse on HD frame rates.
Dr. Palter has laid out his groundbreaking HD laparoscopy work in some recent posts on his blog. Here’s the setup:
I’ve mentioned the National Geographic Special “The Living Body” and wanted to fill you in on why this is such an exciting project for me. The show follows a woman from birth through life and death and traces the function of all of her bodily systems. It will feature my surgical laparoscopy footage as the world’s first broadcast of surgery in HDTV. To produce this I used a protype laparoscopy system that visualizes the highest resolution images ever seen of the human body. If you watch this show you’ll see endoscopic images on your living room HDTV set better than almost any surgeon has seen in the OR!
Some details on the new HD system he’s trying:
I was truly impressed when I tested the system and can say that it is the highest resolution images I have ever seen in endoscopy. Those assisting me in the OR stood with their mouths open in amazement at the beauty of the images and started calling for other surgeons to see what I was doing. We were operating for the first time with a chip that was imaging at 1920 x 1080p (beyond WUXGA for you computer geeks).
…First Ever Surgical 16:9 Monitor: It is displayed on a 16:9 “WideView monitor” with the same native resolution (1920 x 1200) so that the full 1920 x 1080 image can be displayed without degradation. The advantage of using this is that it will maximize the horizontal field of view of the surgeon. In general we operate in a horizontal plane with our instruments next to each other. A true wide aspect ratio monitor will allow a wider lateral field of view and give more space to operate under direct vision as well as allow the surgeon to see instruments entering his field of view earlier. (Editorial Note: I can remember sitting in the courtyard at Patty O’Brien’s in New Orleans at 1 AM with Thomas drawing out this concept on a napkin – during the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Conference Last November- and being convinced of the potential benefits as we debated what technology could transform surgery in the next decade – but that’s another story
We’ve been in that courtyard too … and while the things we drew on napkins there might’ve also caused some excitement in the field of anatomic visualization, they never led to new medical technologies. Congratulations, Dr. P! We look forward to the National Geographic special.
More from DocInTheMachine…
The Karl Storz HD endoscopy site…