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Futuristic Operating Rooms Change Surgery

New York (Jan 24, 2011)

operating room with Artis Zeego arm take 360 degree tour An operating room at NewYork-Presbyterian/
Weill Cornell with an Artis Zeego imaging arm.

Futuristic operating rooms recently built at NewYork-Presbyterian's Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center campuses are changing the way that surgeries are performed.

The newly opened Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia offers eight new state-of-the-art operating rooms and the newly opened Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Surgical Suite at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell has four new state-of-the-art operating rooms.

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The rooms at both locations are large enough to accommodate modern surgical equipment such as perfusion pumps, surgical robots, and high-definition endoscopic imaging systems. And, all equipment is suspended from the ceiling, opening up floor space, allowing equipment to be moved where needed, and facilitating cleaning. But the highlights are perhaps the rooms' imaging and communications abilities.

John C. Evanko, M.D., M.B.A.
John C. Evanko, M.D.,
M.B.A.

"Probably the greatest technological achievement is the Artis Zeego machine, which is basically a CT scanner built into the operating room," said John C. Evanko, M.D., M.B.A., Vice President and Medical Director of Perioperative Services at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. The Artis Zeego, which resembles a futuristic-looking metal claw from a robotic arm, is a digital angiography machine that uses fluoroscopy – a real time x-ray – but also can freely move around the patient and generate CT images. It can be moved to image patients from any angle without moving the patient.

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Without the technology, surgeons would have to stop an operation and transfer the patient to the radiology department for angiography, x-rays, or scans; maneuver them near or into a machine; and then bring them back to the operating room to continue the operation.

"We are one of the first to adopt this technology and one of the largest users of it," said Dr. Evanko. The impetus for the expansion came from the growing volume of neurosurgical and cardiac cases. In addition, "We became the country's largest transplant service and we needed more ORs to accommodate the services that we offer." The additional operating rooms allow for a greater number of patients to receive surgery more quickly.

Howard A. Riina, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Howard A. Riina, M.D.,
F.A.C.S.

"We had this vision of what we thought the future of the O.R. should be and what the future of surgery should be," said Howard A. Riina, M.D., F.A.C.S., Attending Neurological Surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and a physician instrumental in creating the rooms at the Weill Cornell campus. "Having an administration that was supportive of this future vision, we were able to create these rooms that not only have the state-of-the-art technology, but that are going to change what surgery is. There is a revolution in surgery going on that is merging intervention with imaging and changing the way we do surgery," he said. Dr. Riina agreed with Dr. Evanko that the Artis Zeego system has created major advances in surgery as it allows surgeons to perform angiography in the operating room and creates "three-dimensional images of blood vessels, bones, and tumors."

Another major advantage of the new rooms at both institutions are their "walls of knowledge": walls of high-definition video monitors that display each patient's medical records, imaging scans, vital signs, laboratory results and other medical information. The system also allows video conferencing with other departments to speed communications and, for example, to be able to show a member of the surgical pathology department an image and discuss the pathology together in real time. "We can get everyone's feedback instantaneously," Dr. Riina said. "You can always accomplish much more when you bring many minds from different disciplines together. That is the exciting thing about being in an institution like NewYork-Presbyterian."

Contributing faculty for this article:

John C. Evanko, M.D., M.B.A. is the Vice President and Medical Director of Perioperative Services and the Division Chief for General Obstetrics and Gynecology and Gynecologic Surgical Services at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Howard A. Riina, M.D., F.A.C.S. is an Attending Neurological Surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and a Professor of Neurological Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College.

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