MILWAUKEE — Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee has begun using its new $5.2 million hybrid operating room.
The new operating room combines a traditional OR with an image-guided intervention suite.
That means procedures that require doctors to use X-rays and other scans as guidance can be performed in the OR.
"Traditionally, the OR was only for open surgeries," said Dr. Vijay Kantamneni, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Ascension Columbia St. Mary's. "If you needed something specialized, a lot of imaging like X-rays, then you had to go to another room."
"It's much easier on the patient," he added.
The hospital said physicians will perform "a variety of cardiovascular, neurosurgical and interventional radiology procedures" in the new operating room.
One of them: transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in which a replacement valve is attached to a catheter and inserted into the area near a patient's groin.
Doctors use images to guide the catheter through the patient's body and up to the heart, where they deploy the new valve to fix a leaky one.
Kantamneni said the imaging technology in the new operating room is critical to performing the procedure effectively.
"Traditionally, the OR was only for open surgeries. If you needed something specialized, a lot of imaging like X-rays, then you had to go to another room." — Dr. Vijay Kantamneni, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Ascension Columbia St. Mary's.
"We can take pictures of the patient, X-rays, and then the X-ray can be superimposed on what we're doing," Kantamneni said. "When we're moving the catheter from one spot to another, we can use the image, live, as a tracking device to get to where we want."
"A millimeter difference to one side or the other can be disastrous," the doctor said.
Columbia St. Mary's Foundation donated $400,000 toward surgical devices, imaging technologies and software for the hybrid operating room.