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Archive August 2016 XVII, No. 8

Unobstructed View

Technology and techniques to help your laparoscopic surgeons see better.

Kendal Gapinski

Kendal Gapinski, Contributing Editor


scope in a scope warmer before surgery PREVENTING FOG Placing your scope in a scope warmer before surgery helps prevent the lens from fogging.

Want to see a surgeon squint and make him squirm? Lock him in a room with a standard-definition camera and monitor, and watch him work with a laparoscope lens clouded by fog and shrouded in blood. Or you can check out these advances in image quality that will help maintain the clear field of vision that's so critical to performing safe and efficient minimally invasive surgery.

1 Image quality
It wasn't long ago that the move from 720p video to 1080p felt like a huge step for surgeons, but the latest scopes have leapt past high-definition technology and do more than just add pixels to the screen. Take 4K ultra-high-definition video, for example, which features 4 times the resolution of 1080p HD video and more intense colors. Sue Hrnicek, RN, BSN, director of surgical services at Columbus (Neb.) Community Hospital, says that her doctors recently trialed a 4K system and were "in love" with its high-contrast imaging. "It gives them almost a 3D feel," she explains. "The picture is just so big and clear."

Though the improved images are its biggest draw, surgeons also praised 4K's bells and whistles, like its ability to directly import images into an EMR and email PDFs to patients, says Ms. Hrnicek. "We really like that it gave you a more enhanced patient experience," she says.

4K isn't the only video option that improves your laparoscopic surgeons' views. Standalone 3D systems and robots are both growing in popularity. "We do about 1,000 cases a year with the robot. A lot of our lap surgeons want to adopt it because they feel it improves visualization," says Kim Mimnagh, MHA, BSN, RN, director of surgical services at PinnacleHealth in Harrisburg, Pa.

The 3D video gives surgeons more precise control, she says, especially when they're suturing or separating tissue in crowded areas of the body like the abdominal cavity. Ramie Miller, MSN, BSN, RN, CNOR, PRN, charge nurse at University Medical Center in New Orleans, La., notes that if it were up to her surgeons, they would use the robot and its 3D imaging for nearly all of their cases.

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