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High-Tech Surgery

June 11, 2001

By Sheila Dwyer, Knee1 Staff

Orthopedic surgeons are changing with the times. As high-tech operating rooms pop up in hospitals around the country, the surgeons must advance their skills to meet the demands of their patients.

Ohio State University (OSU) Hospitals East in Columbus was one of the first to equip its operating rooms with state-of-the-art equipment. Two operating room suites feature ergonomic furnishings, voice-activated instruments, ceiling-mounted booms and consoles, and the newest surgical tools, to be used for arthroscopic and video-assisted operations.

The Musculoskeletal Institute at OSU has caught the attention of other facilities around the United States since the inception of OSU’s new surgical suites. “Everything in the suites is designed to give as much control as possible to the surgeons,” Christopher Kaeding, MD, an orthopedic and sports medicine surgeon at OSU, told Orthopedic Technology Review.

High-tech gadgets for surgeons translate into better care for orthopedic patients. More control in the operating room “allows the physicians, nurses, and ancillary staff to focus exclusively on the patient,” says Larry Anstine, chief operating officer at OSU Hospitals East.

Feedback from medical staff has been positive, and administrators are happy about the shorter patient turnaround rate. “When I started doing arthroscopies,” says Kaeding, “the patient turnaround time was about one hour; now it’s eight minutes.” With the new equipment, doctors can perform approximately 40 arthroscopies per week.

So far, the voice-activated response system is the favorite upgrade of the orthopedic surgeons in the new surgical suites. The surgeon wears a headset wired for audio and views the arthroscopic procedure on a ceiling-mounted monitor. He can give an order, such as to dim or brighten the probe light used in the operation, and the system obeys instantaneously. “In the past, to activate things such as lights and power, you had to operate foot pedals or hand switches,” Kaeding says, “but now all we have to do is make a verbal command to control certain electrical responses.”

The payoff for the patient is a quicker procedure with more attention from the doctors and medical staff. “Before, if I needed to turn on the arthroscopic pump, I’d have to tell someone and that takes time, especially if they are performing another task,” says Grant Jones, MD, an orthopedic surgeon who performs arthroscopies in the high-tech surgical suites, told Orthopedic Technology Review. “The voice activation system allows the surgeon to control many tasks, while at the same time it frees up the nurses to perform other activities.”

Reference:
Orthopedic Technology Review

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