Surgeon, optical scientist collaborate on surgery camera

January 17, 2013 by Alexis Blue

(Medical Xpress)—Dr. Mike Nguyen, a urologist and UA associate professor of surgery, and Hong Hua, a UA professor of optical sciences, have teamed up with the goal of creating a camera that will allow surgeons to view both wide angle and high-resolution, close-up images simultaneously using a single, integrated probe.

During laparoscopic surgery, which is performed through a small in the body, usually in the , surgeons typically obtain either or close-up images by manually moving a probe with a in and out of the incision – closer to or further from the area in which they are operating. This is done with help from a trained assistant holding the probe.

The existing system presents a few challenges, Nguyen said. For one, it can be complicated to move the in and out through the same incision, or "portal," through which other surgical instruments also are being inserted and maneuvered.

"When you put the camera and instruments into the same space, you start running into each other and you get conflicts. That's one issue, an ergonomic issue," Nguyen said.

Another concern is that because the existing cameras can't capture zoomed-in and broad view images at the same time, a surgeon might not see problems outside the camera's immediate focus area.

"Because laparoscopic surgery is usually done 'zoomed in,' you kind of lose when you're operating," Nguyen said. "Anything that's happening outside your view, you're not aware of. For example, if you're operating on the kidney over here and there's an injury that's occurred on one of the main vessels over here, we may not be aware of it."

To address those issues, Nguyen and Hua are working to create a stationary camera that could simultaneously zoom in to capture detailed close-up views, automatically tracking where the surgeon is working, and also obtain wide-angle overviews. They say the camera has the potential to aid in surgical ease and .

"The combination of being able to zoom optically and being able to capture a wide-angle view has some significant advantages," Nguyen said. "One is the camera doesn't even have to move. It just sits in one place while it zooms and tracks. It can just be mounted, and you don't need an assistant to hold it anymore, and because it's not moving, it conflicts less with other ."

When multiple tools can more easily be maneuvered through one opening, it reduces the need for additional incisions and thus cuts down on scarring and healing time, Nguyen said.

Furthermore, the camera's ability to capture two views at once has the potential to make laparoscopic surgery safer, Nguyen said.

"The idea of this camera is it allows for focusing on one area, but because it's capturing the wide view as well, the surgeon can stay focused on the details, but not lose sight of the big picture," he said.

The camera, designed to zoom optically, allows for close-up images with nine times higher resolution than those captured by a standard scope, Hua said. Optical zoom capability provides higher resolution than digital zoon, which can distort image quality.

The researchers still are trying to determine how best to display the dual images captured by the camera – for example, side by side, as an overlay or with a "picture in picture" format. Further study is needed to determine which would be most effective for the surgeon, Hua said.

Nguyen and Hua are working to develop the camera, which has not yet undergone biological testing, with a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Nguyen said he hopes they can help advance the field of minimally invasive surgery with the new technology.

"This can potentially make minimally invasive surgery safer and allow us to use instruments more efficiently," Nguyen said. "This technology allows it to potentially overcome some of the issues we face in laparoscopic to make adoption of these types of surgeries easier and safer."

Explore further: Pediatric urologist develops procedure to eliminate scarring in kidney surgeries

Related Stories

Pediatric urologist develops procedure to eliminate scarring in kidney surgeries

July 1, 2011
Surgery and all its implications can be scary, especially so for pediatric patients and their parents who dread sometimes disfiguring scars.

Surgeons offer procedures through belly button

September 23, 2012
There's a novel way to remove a gallbladder: Use a surgical robot to take it out through the navel.

Recommended for you

World's first child hand transplant a 'success'

July 19, 2017
The first child in the world to undergo a double hand transplant is now able to write, feed and dress himself, doctors said Tuesday, declaring the ground-breaking operation a success after 18 months.

Knee surgery—have we been doing it wrong?

July 18, 2017
A team of University at Buffalo medical doctors have published a study that challenges a surgical practice used for decades during arthroscopic knee surgery.

New tools help surgeons find liver tumors, not nick blood vessels

July 17, 2017
The liver is a particularly squishy, slippery organ, prone to shifting both deadly tumors and life-preserving blood vessels by inches between the time they're discovered on a CT scan and when the patient is lying on an operating ...

Researchers discover indicator of lung transplant rejection

July 13, 2017
Research by scientists at Dignity Health St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center's Norton Thoracic Institute was published in the July 12, 2017 issue of Science Translational Medicine titled "Zbtb7a induction in alveolar ...

New device could make closing surgical incisions a cinch

July 7, 2017
Like many surgeons, Dr. Jason Spector is often faced with the challenge of securely closing the abdominal wall without injuring the intestines. If the process goes awry, there can be serious consequences for patients, including ...

Success with first 20 patients undergoing minimally invasive pancreatic transplant surgery

June 29, 2017
Surgeons at Johns Hopkins Medicine report that their first series of a minimally invasive procedure to treat chronic pancreas disease, known as severe pancreatitis, resulted in shorter hospital stays, less need for opioids ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.