Archive Surgery's Hottest Trends 2014

Better Than High Definition?

Ultra HD is poised to become the latest technology that revolutionizes what surgeons see.

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook, Executive Editor


ultra HD images EYE OPENING Surgeons will be blown away by ultra HD images.

Steven Palter, MD, has always been fascinated with the intersection of technology and medicine. Tapping into advances in entertainment imaging to improve surgical outcomes has long been a passion for the GYN surgeon and founder, medical and scientific director of Gold Coast IVF in Syosset, N.Y. His latest efforts have focused on bringing 4K technology — which provides 4 times the resolution of high-definition video and promises crisper images, depth perception and color fidelity beyond anything you see with HD laparoscopes — into the OR. It's a journey that sent him to Hollywood, Vegas and an OR on Long Island.

Chasing a mirage
Back in 2000, high-definition imaging was starting to generate a buzz. The standard definition monitors used in the OR appeared antiquated compared with the promise of operating in HD. At that time, Dr. Palter sought out companies making industrial cameras and devised a way to perform the first laparoscopy in HD, which demanded bringing together teams from Japan and America who were expert in imaging and software engineering.

A year later, he presented a keynote lecture at a medical conference in HD for the first time ever. He showed attendees that increasing imaging resolution lets surgeons see anatomical details never before possible. But that didn't prevent experts from telling him there were no more improvements to be made to surgical imaging, that the attempt to incorporate HD into the OR would prove impossible. What they didn't know was Dr. Palter was just getting started.

He continued to operate in HD, but always kept an eye on Hollywood, where 4K technology was starting to completely transform the way movies were seen. "My fascination and passion was to see if we could push the envelope in surgery to this next level," says Dr. Palter. "I did all of my research in 4K sensors and editing, and became convinced what it could do for entertainment would have the same exponential increase in medical visualization."

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