By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – High tech hybrids aren’t just on the road.
North Mississippi Medical Center-Tupelo has opened a hybrid operating room – which integrates advanced medical imaging and information technology into the surgical suite.
It brings together the technology specialists need to perform minimally-invasive heart and vascular surgery in the sterility of the operating room.
“Without having to move patients, we can handle high risk procedures as a team,” said Dr. Amit Gupta, an interventional cardiologist.
The OR, which cost $3.49 million to renovate and equip, is the first of its type in North Mississippi and one of few in the Southeast. A certificate of need is currently being considered for a hybrid operating room at St. Dominic Memorial Hospital in Jackson by the state Department of Health.
“We’re one of a handful of centers in the country with this technology,” said Tupelo cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. David Talton.
The robotic arm that brings fluoroscopy – a form of x-ray used in the cath lab – and rapid CT scans together is one of only a dozen in the country, Talton said. The cutting edge medical information software system integrates the images taken with the robotic arm with images and information from a patient’s records. The communication functions let the medical team share images with specialists outside the operating room, allowing for real-time consults.
“This is really going to enhance care,” said Steve Altmiller, NMMC president.
Many heart patients need bypass surgery – which is an open procedure – and stents in their coronary arteries, which are placed with a catheter. Previously, the procedures had to be done separately, usually on a separate day.
“That may save two or three days in the hospital,” said Dr. Barry Bertolet, an interventional cardiologist.
The hybrid OR will also benefit vascular surgery patients, who need a mix of both open and minimally invasive surgeries.
“With the hybrid OR, we will be able to sedate the patient once and do both procedures during the same case,” said Surgeon Dr. Danny Sanders.
The hybrid OR provides a increased level of patient safety on complicated minimally invasive procedures that require quick access to an OR in case of complications, such as carotid artery procedures. It will benefit acute heart attack patients who need the services cath lab and equipment that can take over for their heart and lungs in one place.
With the imaging opportunities in the operating room, surgeons concerned about the placement of a stent can test it on the spot.
“We’re able to treat the leaks right there,” instead of waiting to see if problems develop, said Dr. Vishal Sachdev, a cardiothoracic surgeon.
The technology will also open up opportunities for new procedures, like minimally invasive valve replacements, that require the sterility levels found in an operating room.
Although the NMMC hybrid OR is focused on cardiovascular procedures, the technology has applications in other specialties, such as neurosurgery and orthopedics.
“This is going to be the wave of the future,” Sachdev said.