Catalan hospital is the first one in the world practicing surgery assisted by HD 3D technology

Since December, the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona is the only healthcare centre in the world to use a High Definition 3D camera and lens for surgical interventions. The technology, developed by Olympus, reduces both the time and risks in laparoscopic operations and also facilitates the work of surgeons.

CNA / María Belmez

January 18, 2012 09:57 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- Barcelona’s Hospital Clínic has become pioneer in the use of High Definition 3D technology for laparoscopic surgical interventions. It is a technique driven by the optics manufacturer Olympus that has been handed over to the Catalan hospital for its implementation. Since December 15th a team headed by Dr Antonio de Lacy, Head of the Gastrointestinal Surgery Service at the Hospital Clínic, has performed 14 operations with HD 3D equipment with excellent results. The two main advantages of this new technology are that it widens the range of vision of the intervened area providing more accuracy and security for the patient and significantly reduces intervention times.

The technique uses a three dimensional camera and lens to see the inside of the patient in 3D on a screen. This allows the surgeon and his medical team to view the intervention area in full detail permitting them to operate with greater precision. The technology can be used in any laparoscopic intervention, namely, those interventions where the instruments are inserted into the body through small holes and the surgeon uses a monitor to observe the area and the process.

Advantages for doctors and patients

“Operating in 2D is more complicated”, explains De Lacy. Thus, one of the biggest advantages of 3D, according to the Doctor, is that people with less experience will be able to operate because “it is easier”. There are advantages from the patient’s point of view too: the time spent in surgery will be reduced and is safer, as it is more precise and less invasive.

With the 2D lens, the medical team had to move the device inside the patient’s body and continuously remove it to clean it. However, thanks to the 3D lens, the device does not need to move and can be fixed due to its wider and deeper range of vision. This allows a reduction in the intervention time by half, from five hours to two and a half.

The technology will be available in 2013

For the time being this technology is not available in the market and only the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona uses it. The Director of Olympus in Europe, Frank Drewalowski, forecasted 2013 as the year that HD 3D technology will begin to be marketed. The Clínic has only one device with the described features and is used daily, but only once a day at most.

Dewalowski also explained that the company benefits from its use as it allows them to improve the technology thanks to the practical and experimental results of the Clínic. He added that starting in April the hospital would have an operation room fully equipped for the new technique.

The cost of the system is still unknown but the Director of Olympus in Europe believes that it will not exceed €500,000. De Lacy explained that its use “makes interventions cheaper” because less surgery time is needed. He said that he knows that healthcare professionals are “aware of the economic problems” of the country, but he also warned “it is impossible” to have surgery of this quality “for free”.

The Clínic’s “vocation for research”

The Director General of the Hospital Clínic, Josep Maria Piqué, is pleased that Olympus trusts the medical centre he runs to test the technology. And he added, that this is the result of more than 30 years of “vocation for research” supported by the hospital.