Archive Hot Technology 2018

Surgery Never Looked So Good

The latest imaging upgrades will wow surgeons and allow for safer, more efficient care.

Kendal Gapinski

Kendal Gapinski, Contributing Editor


Video Surgery
COOL VIEW Ultra-high-definition video monitors provide surgical teams with incredible images of surgery and help surgeons notice subtle differences in anatomy.

Eye-popping views of surgery will get anyone's attention, but the latest advancements in surgical imaging are more than just a pretty picture. Adding 4K ultra-high-definition video, 3D displays, image enhancement platforms and oversized video monitors will let surgeons operate with more confidence and precision. These visualization upgrades will also show them you've got your sights set on the future of surgical care.

1. 4K video

Ultra-high-definition video monitors feature a 3,840 x 2,160-pixel matrix, or more than 8 million pixels compared with standard HD's 2 million pixels. There are 4K surgical monitors and 4K camera systems on the market, and in order to get the full benefits of ultra-high definition, you need to upgrade the entire imaging chain, including the camera, video tower and monitors, says Alan Sherburne, MD, a general surgeon with Auburn (N.Y.) Community Hospital. 4K systems can also offer more than just a pretty picture; at least one system has an autofocus feature, which manufacturers say keeps the surgeon's image sharp as he changes location or settings in the surgical field. Additionally, 4K scopes now come in 5 mm instead of the larger 10 mm, and most scopes now are fully autoclavable to make reprocessing them easier.

As far as the clinical benefits of using the technology, it's pretty simple: The more pixels on the screen, the better the image quality, which helps surgeons with depth perception and distinguishing between different layers of tissue. Additionally, colors "pop" on 4K monitors, especially reds and yellows. "The lighting in the system is very good as well," says Dr. Sherburne. "When there's blood in the field, the system seems to balance the colors and the lighting in the image is much better."

Surgeons can also magnify an image on the screen 10 to 30 times with virtually no pixilation, adds Dr. Sherburne. "There's no loss of resolution, which was a problem with older standard definition systems," he says.

As with most new surgical video systems, facilities say cost is one of the biggest reasons why they aren't making the switch to 4K just yet. Oftentimes the cost is higher than simply purchasing a new HD system because you need new towers, cameras and displays in order to go fully 4K, says Dr. Sherburne.

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