Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital director of Surgical Services Trishann Green moved a high-definition camera, at the end of a laparoscope, close to a bunch of red, white and blue mums sitting on a table. The image of the flowers simultaneously appeared on a flat-screen monitor above her head clear, vibrant and in high-resolution.
The high-definition imaging equipment, which will be available today to surgeons at both the Gnaden Huetten and Palmerton campuses of Blue Mountain Health System, will make laparoscopic surgery faster, easier and more precise for doctors and patients alike. The equipment is eco-friendly, to boot.
The new equipment, which includes a wireless platform, high-definition 3-chip camera and an LED light source, "offers hospitals an unparalleled and incredibly innovative video system which delivers exceptional results that will allow surgical teams to provide the best in patient care," according to manufacturer Stryker.
Hospital staff are thrilled with the investment.
The full-color image is three times better than that obtained through the previous equipment, said Green, RN BSN.
She explained how it works. The surgeon inserts the camera, equipped with a bright light, through a tiny slit into a patient's abdomen and "he can see everything inside," she said. The surgeon can adjust the focus and the intensity of the light.
"He's getting a crystal-clear image of the organ, as if the abdomen was open and he was able to physically touch the organ, and see it with his own eyes," Green said.
Using a thin rod with what look like tiny steel pincers on the end, the surgeon can grasp and move tissue.
For example, a doctor who is removing a gallbladder can use the instrument, called a retractor, so "he can hold on to the gallbladder with this tool, and there will be no incision, where there is now," Green said. "He can retract the gallbladder until he gets it out."
"With this instrument, there is no scar, it's literally like an IV site," Green said. That's as opposed to the previous equipment, which left a 5-10-millimeter scar, she said.
The equipment arrived last week, Green said.
"Starting on Tuesday (Sept. 7), both campuses will be fully live with the new equipment."
A variety of surgeons will be able to use the equipment: It can be used for bariatric, orthopedic, gallbladder, and some gynecological surgery.
Spokeswoman Lisa Johnson said Blue Mountain Health System is the only provider in the region with this particular state-of-the-art equipment.
"The surgeries can actually be lessened in time because of the sharp, crisp image that the physicians see. It makes the time of the surgery go a lot quicker than it would otherwise," said Vice-President for Nursing Theresa Long, BSN.
"I am incredibly excited. This is technology that we've seen in the bigger hospitals in the bigger cities, and how great for our patients and our staff to be able to have this technology in Carbon County," she said. "Our goal is to make sure our patients can stay in Carbon County, and they won't have to travel to get this level of technology. So I know I speak for the staff; we're really excited about providing a higher level of care to our patients, and our physicians are very excited as well."