Minimally Invasive Surgeries: Three-dimensional Images for Better Patient Care


The third dimension is entering the operating rooms. For minimally invasive surgeries, 3D technology allows three-dimensional vision and therefore enables more precise and faster operations. This means an even shorter healing process for patients. In the run-up to the press conference for the MEDICA EDUCATION CONFERENCE on April 11, 2016, at the 122nd Convention of Internists in Mannheim, expert Professor Dr. med Tobias Keck explains how the 3D surgical technique will be developing and what the benefits will be for the patient.

For a long time, operating in the third dimension has been the norm in classical open surgery: the surgeon had direct insight into the body and thus a natural 3D view.  For complex operations, however, this required relatively large cuts that resulted in pronounced post-operative pain, longer hospital stays and long recovery times.

As a consequence of developments in medical technologies, a solution was found in minimally invasive operations, also known as keyhole surgeries. “Progress in modern surgery is mainly driven by developments in minimally invasive surgery”, says Professor Dr. med. Tobias Keck, member of the program committee of the MEDICA EDUCATION CONFERENCE for the field abdominal/thoracic surgery. “It has thereby established itself as therapy for benign and malignant diseases.” Minimally invasive operations require only small cuts through which surgical instruments as well as a camera are introduced; the camera provides the surgeon with two-dimensional images. This 2D operation method is standard today, but also poses certain challenges for the surgeon: he must carry out the surgery with very little room for the instruments and receives little sensory feedback via the tissue through which he cuts. There is also the challenge of transferring a 2D-image to a three-dimensional operative field. This means a considerable learning curve for surgeons to acquire surgical skills.

“A significant improvement is achieved today by the use of 3D operation systems”, explains Professor Keck, director of the Clinic for Surgery at the University Clinic Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Lübeck. For minimally invasive operations with 3D laparoscopy systems, two image sensors precisely aligned to each other are at the end of the endoscope and provide a realistic endoscopic 3D image to the surgeon. The spatial representation of the operative field facilitates hand-eye coordination during surgical maneuvers, since the surgeon can better assess the distances between anatomical structures and instruments: thus for example, he is better able to recognize the needle during sewing and therefore sews quicker and more precisely. The tactility missing in the 2D procedure is partly compensated optically. Overall, surgeons acquire surgical skills significantly faster using 3D technology.

The new technology can be used for all complex operations in the abdominal cavity: in the stomach, intestines or gall bladder and for hernia. This means shorter operation times and better operation results. “3D laparoscopy is also forward-looking because its use is an interface to robot-assisted and navigated surgery – thus leading to the integrated 3D operating room of the future”, explains Professor Keck. Its advantages for the patient include further reduction of surgical trauma in combination with faster recovery times and an extension of the minimally invasive operation possibilities for cancer diseases. In addition, the postoperative risk of death is likely to be lower.  

How the minimally invasive surgery procedures can be further developed for the benefit of patients is the subject of exchange among experts attending the MEDICA EDUCATION CONFERENCE 2016 in Düsseldorf on November 14. Then the focus will be on “New Operative Techniques in Surgery”. In addition to innovations and future visions, current standards of surgical methods will be presented in diverse and compact form. The MEDICA EDUCATION CONFERENCE is an interdisciplinary advanced training course of the German Association for Internal Medicine (DGIM) and the Messe Düsseldorf according to the motto “Science Meets Medical Technology” which takes place from November 14 to 17 2016 in Düsseldorf.

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Düsseldorf, 08 April 2016