Eliminating the 'price of doing business': How Olympus' ORBEYE is minimizing surgeon fatigue during spine surgery

Written by Mary Rechtoris | November 14, 2017 | Print  |

Due to the complexity and length of spine and neurosurgical procedures, the precision of surgical tools is imperative. David Langer, MD, chair of neurosurgery at New York City-based Lenox Hill Hospital, has seen firsthand an innovation that will change the surgical team's experience of spine surgery, a new 3D 4K video microscope.

"Spine surgery technology is constantly improving. When pedicle screws were adopted  in the mid-1990s, for example, they had a huge impact," Dr. Langer says.


Instrumentation advancements like screws, or biological advancements like fusion products tend to be introduced at a steady pace, but a major advancement in visualization in spine surgery is rare, Dr. Langer says. Tokyo-based Olympus Corp., a surgical visualization provider with roots in microscopy, has introduced ORBEYE through a joint venture with Sony Imaging Products & Solution. The video microscope aims to provide surgeons and their teams improved lighting and visualization during procedures through high resolution 3-D imaging.


Nearly three years ago, Dr. Langer was introduced to the ORBEYE project and was involved in its first OR assessment this past summer prior to its release. He has used the microscope on 12 patients, three of which were spine procedures, since July.


A core benefit of ORBEYE is its ability to display procedures on a monitor in ultra high definition 4K 3D, thereby allowing the surgeon and his or her team to view the procedure. This allows the assistant and OR staff to have a "surgeon's view," improving the assistant's involvement and team engagement. The video microscope also maintains a smaller footprint than the conventional operating microscope, providing the surgical team ample room to move freely. The ORBEYE also is lighter and easily collapsible allowing easy transport between operating rooms.


Dr. Langer believes that the video microscope also creates a more ergonomic position for the surgeon by allowing the surgeon to operate "heads up," rather than in flexion with loupe magnification. In addition, since the image is displayed above the field, training of residents becomes easier. The resident or assistant surgeon sees exactly what the surgeon sees, eliminating the typical difficulty that is encountered when two surgeons are peering into a wound using their individual headlights and loupes.  


"Operating out of flexion also undoubtedly will result in less long-term cervical strain on the operating surgeon. With spine surgery, neck pain is the price of doing business," Dr. Langer says. "ORBEYE can reduce the wear and tear on your neck and provide more light and more magnification." Magnification has been increased above that of the operating microscope, to 26 times as compared to the standard 15 times.


The ORBEYE is the next generation of operative imaging. Dr. Langer notes that most surgeons would find the interface immersive and valuable, and those accustomed to surgical loupes may even consider it to be "truly revolutionary."


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