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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - A new handheld device used by Cedar Rapids physicians in the operating room is helping better guide decisions made during surgical procedures and reducing the likelihood of poor patient outcomes.
UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital purchased a $3 million surgical imaging technology called SPY-PHI that officials described as 'a major advancement” for surgical patients.
With it, surgeons can see blood flow in a patient's tissues. This allows doctors to better map cancerous nodes, confirm healthy or injured tissue, and other applications necessary for certain surgeries, especially reconstructive, urological, gynecological and gastroenterological procedures.
Dr. David Jerkins, a plastics and reconstructive surgeon at Physicians' Clinic of Iowa, described it as the difference between a carpenter measuring with a thumb and measuring with a rule.
'If their surgeon uses this device, (patients) could go on with significantly more certainty when they're done with that surgery that the likelihood of more complications is much lower,” Jerkins said.
According to hospital officials, St. Luke's is the first hospital in Eastern Iowa to use the device, which is produced by Michigan-based medical technologies corporation Stryker.
Two of the devices are used in St. Luke's operating rooms and a third has been placed on wheels to move to locations of other procedures, Jerkins said. It's been in use for about six weeks.
Jerkins said the device replaces an older iteration of Stryker technology the hospital had used. This newer version can be used on endoscopes that physicians use to view the inside of a patient's body.
To use the device, a fluorescent imaging agent is injected into a patient's blood stream, which binds to the blood as it circulates throughout the body. Once the medical team uses a near-infrared low-powered laser light, surgeons are able to see the blood flowing through vessels and into tissue through a video monitor.
If there's no fluorescence, that means there's no blood flow in that area or a compromised blood flow, officials said.
Health care systems in other states often use this device to treat frostbite, which occurs when blood vessels constrict due to cold.
Jerkins said in the cases of uterine or prostate cancer, surgeons also can have a better image of where a cancerous growth is located. This helps guide whether they need to remove more, or less, of a particular section of the patient's body.
'Traditionally, surgeons relied on their clinical judgment to determine whether or not tissue was receiving adequate blood flow,” Dr. Jonathan Rippentrop, PCI urologist and St. Luke's minimally invasive surgery medical director, said in a news release. 'Now, surgeons at St. Luke's have an advanced tool to help visualize blood flow during surgery.”
By actually seeing whether tissues are getting adequate blood flow, surgeons can better address issues while in the operating room, which reduces the risk of postoperative complications, Jerkins said.
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