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May 10, 2017

New heads up surgical 3D platform improves operating experience

Massachusetts Eye and Ear wants to improve the care it brings to adult and pediatric retina patients with a new vitreoretinal surgical platform – the NGENUITY 3D Visualization System. Designed to enhance the operating experience for retina surgeons and their patients, the new “heads up” technology claims to offer surgeons better visualization in surgery. It also engenders a more collaborative operating room environment and helps reduce surgeon fatigue. Mass. Eye and Ear is the first medical center in New England to acquire the system, to be used at the hospital’s two locations in Boston.

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NGENUITY is designed to enhance visualization of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye, giving surgeons and operating room staff better resolution, image depth, clarity and color contrast. Two key features are the 3D view, which enhances depth perception, and the ability for surgeons to magnify an image while maintaining a wide field of view. Both features are meant to give surgeons an enhanced view of their instruments in relationship to the tissues or structures in the eye, which can improve surgical precision.

Better collaboration, communication

The system may also facilitate collaboration and better communication among team members in the operating room. The importance of teamwork and its positive impact on patient care were the focus of a feasibility study conducted by a team of Harvard researchers (Annals of Surgery, March 2014). Nearly half of the participants (221 active operating room members) ranked “improving communication” as the most important change they would make in their clinical practice.

“Effective communication is vital to achieving optimal surgical care and patient outcomes,” said John B. Miller, M.D., an adult retina surgeon and Director of Retinal Imaging at Mass. Eye and Ear. “By giving everyone in the operating room the same great surgical view, we can work more smoothly as a team to provide even better patient care.”

Reduce fatigue

With retina surgeries lasting from thirty minutes to three hours, the ergonomic “heads-up” design of NGenuity is designed to help reduce surgeon fatigue as well as degenerative back and neck disease, common after many years of traditional microscope use. During surgery, the team wears 3D glasses to operate while looking straight ahead at the magnified, high definition 3D screen. Rather than bending their necks to look through the eye-pieces of a microscope, surgeons can sit at their most ergonomic position throughout surgery.

"Heads-up surgery can decrease surgeon fatigue, which may translate into safer surgeries for patients, and longer operating careers for surgeons,” said Yoshihiro Yonekawa, M.D., a pediatric and adult retina surgeon at Mass. Eye and Ear and Boston Children’s Hospital. The enhanced 3D visualization also requires lower light levels while maintaining an ultra-crisp view of the retina. “This can potentially reduce light toxicity, which may benefit patients, because although rare, the retina can be damaged from light exposure of conventional surgery if the levels are too intense,” said Dr. Yonekawa.

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