O.R. of the Future Arrives at MUSC

Space and technology come together to create the optimal surgical environment in MUSC Health’s new hybrid operating room. In this new state-of-the-art O.R., physicians can perform both open and laparoscopic procedures on the same patient during the same visit, which lessens the patient’s need for multiple rounds of anesthesia and lowers overall risk.

Team that worked on the new hybrid OR

Ravikumar Veeraswamy, M.D., chief of Vascular Surgery, worked with fellow MUSC heart and vascular surgeon Marc R. Katz, M.D., MPH, the Fred A. Crawford, Jr. M.D. Endowed Chair in Cardiothoracic Surgery, and interventional cardiologist Daniel Steinberg, M.D., the Michael R. Gold Endowed Chair in Structural Heart Disease, to design an operating room that would provide a space for these surgeries.

“Collaborating on this project was a natural fit for us,” Veeraswamy said, referring to his two colleagues. Accustomed to working together on patients and offering solutions, as well as sharing new techniques from their own areas of expertise,Veeraswamy, Katz and Steinberg were excited for this opportunity.

After more than a year of meeting with each other and with MUSC’s strategic partner, Siemens Healthineers, the team brought the room to life. What Veeraswamy finds most useful about this new room is its imaging capabilities. With the most up-to-date technology, surgeons and interventionalists in this operating room can visualize more of their surgical field ahead of surgery. By combining ultrasound imagery with X-ray imagery, physicians can see everything more clearly – like upgrading to a high-definition TV.

And this imaging can even be captured through the table the patient is lying on. Ultrasound imagery is ideal for capturing movement and tissues, according to Steinberg, while X-rays capture changes in density. “By being able to merge the two, you can look at one picture that has the advantages of two,” he said, “which helps us perform more minimally invasive procedures on our patients.”

Patients with complex aortic pathologies are great candidates for this operating room, and Veeraswamy points to an endovascular stent replacement as a surgery that utilizes the technology to its fullest extent. By keeping the procedure as minimally invasive as possible, while also allowing the physician the opportunity to transition to an open procedure if needed, surgeons can tackle problems that were once thought too complicated. They can also expose the patient to less radiation and less anesthesia, both of which contribute to the risks involved with any surgery.

One drawback to technology is that it is always evolving, and it doesn’t always take much time for it to become obsolete. But the physician team at MUSC Health worked with Siemens Healthineers to prepare for that possibility by making sure the room was adaptable as well as flexible. It can change as technology does, and Siemens Healthineers is prepared to incorporate technological upgrades like augmented reality and other updated software.

“This strategic partnership is ultimately about patient care,” said Dave Pacitti, president and head of the Americas for Siemens Healthineers. “By empowering MUSC with the technology they need as patient care evolves, we hope to help their clinicians do even more for their stroke patients and improve post-stroke outcomes.”Between its teamwork capabilities, technological advancements and efficient design, the new hybrid operating room gives surgeons at MUSC Health the ability to help more patients.

Written by Celia Spell