Intelligent assistance systems support not just airline pilots, motorists and mechanical equipment operators. This technology has long since made its debut in the operating room, too. The International Reference and Development Center for Surgical Technology (IRDC) in Leipzig, in collaboration with partners including Leipzig University Hospital and highly qualified surgeons from around the world, devotes its efforts to the further refinement of networked solutions for surgical theaters. A decisive factor in progress and success: medical technology equipment that is already prepared for integration into such a system.
The IRDC, the only surgical research and training center in Germany, opened its doors in September of 2009. In the two newly equipped operating rooms the JUPITER operating table system is part of an overall solution that serves as a prime example for surgical units of tomorrow. Here all the elements and functions work as an integrated unit under the command of the "OR1" control system made by the Karl Storz Company: from the laparoscope to monitor settings and right through to telemedicine. The surgical table can also be controlled from a central point. To do this, the screen simulating the table’s remote control module is loaded into a monitor. Then surgeons and the nursing staff can move the table into the desired position easily and with complete confidence using the touch screen capability.
"We are completely rebuilding the surgical workplace and are optimizing the entire sequence of procedures in the surgical suite while doing so," explains Strauss, otorhinolaryngologic surgeon and IRDC Director. "Decisive for us is a high-quality, versatile operating table that we can position, simply and precisely, using the central control unit."
Forward-looking support systems that enable new forms of minimally invasive surgery also impose new demands on the operating tables. "In addition to navigation systems that support surgeons during interventions, close control of instrument handling is a major issue," says Strauss. Here the operating table plays a key role. According to Dr. Strauss it has to be able not only to accept the micromanipulators that hold and guide such instruments – and the manipulators for endoscopes, but also to communicate with them. "The table has to be able to follow the current navigation position exactly," the IRDC Director continues. "Here TRUMPF is the perfect partner for patient positioning. This is because the technical intelligence built into the equipment and TRUMPF’s disclosure of interface data make such developments possible at all."
In the first phase the IRDC will turn its attention primarily to ear, nose and throat surgery. "To name just one example, we have already achieved significant progress in transnasal surgery," Gero Strauss reports. "Using navigation systems for control purposes lets us work through the nasal cavity for brain surgery – without any large cranial openings. And when operating on a tumor at the larynx, for instance, this makes our work even more precise."
The next undertakings for new approaches in minimally invasive surgery: orthopedic sports medicine, pediatric surgery and urology. "Our goal is to unveil new development milestones every half year," says Dr. Strauss. "As early as in January 2010 a major seminar on surgical assistance systems will be held – staged in collaboration with TRUMPF and other partners who, with us, again and again spur on medical progress."