Today’s operating room is a lot like the field of play at a sporting event. A team of like-minded individuals work together to execute a game plan with a specific goal in mind. Each member is trained
to quickly and accurately perceive what is in front of him or her, react
accordingly, and help achieve a desired outcome.
The sense of sight is a critical tool for athletes and OR professionals
alike. However, the concept of sight and how it is employed in the OR
has evolved quite a bit over time. Surgeons and other OR personnel
have learned to evolve with these changes and overcome the various
visual limitations of certain forms of surgery. While open procedures
allow surgeons to see three dimensions with the naked eye, the rise of
minimally-invasive surgery in the late 1980s and early 1990s removed
depth perception from the equation altogether. Now high-performance
visualization technology is more prevalent than ever before. High-definition products are found in the vast majority of ORs around the country,
and new 3D visualization products are starting to make their way into
hospitals. However, one significant drawback to the development of OR
visualization products is the difference between the visual dimensions
available to staff present in the OR. What the surgeon and the council
sees varies greatly from what the surgical assistant and the rest of the
OR team sees. This disconnect is less than ideal, and it acts as a barrier
between OR personnel.
“When we look at the modern day operating room, it’s really a team
approach,” says Dr. John Valvo, Director of Robotic Surgery at New
York’s Rochester General Hospital. “Everyone should have access to all
of the assets that the surgeon has.”
Wishful Thinking (Until Now)
According to Dr. Valvo, OR personnel dependent on one another to
do their jobs properly should be able to see the same visual information
the same way. For example, no matter how effectively a council surgeon
and bedside surgeon work together, the bedside surgeon lacks the depth
perception the council surgeon has at his or her disposal.
“The difficulties therein are that the council surgeon needs the
bedside surgeon to assist (him or her) with instrumentation, with passing
equipment in and out, and needs not only to anticipate what the moves
are, but also to be able to see them so that things are done precisely,” says
However, he and his staff recently incorporated Sony's new 3D view-
ing and recording system for robotic surgery. The system allows for 3D
viewing throughout the OR, records the procedure, and allows for it to
be viewed later in 3D. The most notable benefit of this system is every-
one in the operating room can see exactly what the surgeon sees when he
or she looks through Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robot kiosk. According
to Dr. Valvo, this system has helped improve understanding and work-
flow between the surgeon, assistant, and other staff in the OR.
“Now that the bedside surgeon can see what the council surgeon sees,
that symbiosis can occur much more quickly, much more accurately, with
a much less chance of mistakes happening,” he says.
Anytime a significant investment is made in a product, there are
expectations with regards to performance and return on investment.
Such was the case for Dr. Valvo and his colleagues at Rochester General