Some of us couldn’t fathom driving far without taking advantage of our vehicle’s GPS system. It points us in the right direction no matter the circumstances, and leads us to our destination both safer and easily than ever before. There's comfort in having a GPS at our side.
These days, this sort of essential technology is not only used on the roads, but also in the operating rooms of Northwest Indiana.
Led in part by the efforts of spine medical director Dr. Elian Shepherd, Methodist Hospital is now home to the region's first Multi-Specialty Computer-Assisted Surgery Suite in a 200-mile radius. Since being unveiled in January, the system has impressed both doctors and patients alike.
Essentially known as a GPS in the OR, the suite utilizes technology that provides surgeons an opportunity to operate with greater accuracy and precision via the Stryker Navigation System. Focusing primarily on neurological, spinal and orthopedic surgeries, the system relies on infrared cameras and tracking software to help surgeons precisely navigate to the exact area that needs treatment.
“It’s a unique opportunity to be one of the first in the state to use it,” explained Dr. Judson B. Wood Jr., orthopedic surgeon at Methodist Hospitals. “Our cuts can now be more precise than ever, which ultimately helps the patient in the long run, in terms of both their prognosis and recovery. The ability to make exact cuts and measurements via the use of a three dimensional image is an amazing development, and can be used in surgeries involving everything from the knee to the spine to the facial area. It certainly puts (Methodist Hospitals) on the forefront of surgery in the area.”
“It gives surgeons the ability to see where they are at any moment of time,” said Laurel Valentino, neuroscience clinical director at Methodist Hospitals. “It enables the surgeons to get to the area of concern quicker via the use of smaller incisions, which will ultimately benefit the patient in the long run.”
In addition, the navigational system alleviates the need for multiple X-rays, which ultimately means substantially less exposure to radiation, protecting both the patient and staff. “Any way of avoiding additional exposure to radiation via the use of X-rays is always a good thing,” Valentino said.
The technology also offers up the opportunity for further education, producing quality pictures for patients to review with their doctors as needed. “Pictures are able to be used to explain the entire process,” Valentino said. “The ability for the patient can see right then and there what is occurring during the surgery is extremely valuable.”
Yet, perhaps the greatest advantage to this state of the art system is the benefits it offers to Methodist Hospitals patients. Not only are there better results using this system, but the patient’s recovery time is much shorter than traditional surgery. “Patients are very happy, and their time in the hospital is shortened somewhat,” Dr. Wood explained. “They can get back to normal much faster, which makes everything better in the long run.”
Courtesy of the Times.