Digital imaging plays a role in UCLA's OR of the future

September 30, 2002

A unique academic and commercial partnership has resulted in the opening of a new robotic and technology center at the University of California, Los Angeles, one of the first of its kind in the U.S. The Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional

A unique academic and commercial partnership has resulted in the opening of a new robotic and technology center at the University of California, Los Angeles, one of the first of its kind in the U.S. The Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology, called CASIT, is meant to promote digital imaging and robotics in surgery and medicine.

"One of the goals is to integrate digital imaging into the operating room, giving surgeons one-touch PACS access in a sterile environment," said CASIT codirector Dr. Carlos Gracia, UCLA's chief of minimally invasive surgery and an associate professor of surgery.

When the center is completed, physicians should be able to access the PACS with their gloves on, a feat not replicated anywhere else, according to Gracia.

A cooperative effort between UCLA, Computer Motion, Karl Storz Endoscopy-America, and Berchtold, CASIT has been described as a minimally invasive surgery think tank. The center will feature several components:

?a hands-on robotic demonstration lab called the Gonda/UCLA Robotic Surgery Center
?the UCLA Minimally Invasive Surgical Lab
?the Surgical Education and Resource Center

The all-digital operating unit will feature 23 new operating rooms, interventional radiology, cardiac catheterization, and endoscopy suites situated side by side in a 100,000-square-foot-plus "interventional platform." The unit is scheduled to open in 2005.

The digital OR will allow surgeons to pull up the patient's name, scroll the x-rays, and easily select the desired images.

"The only other option now is to call down to x-ray and wait for the film to come up," Gracia said. "Even if you have a PACS, somebody still has to manipulate the workstation - it may be done by computer, but you still have to select images. And how do you display them in the OR?"

The CASIT OR suites will feature touch panels with translators that interact with PACS, providing a simple user interface.

"The surgeon can now walk and chew gum at the same time," Gracia said.

The center also plans to devise a way to store video and still images in the same PACS.

"Wouldn't it be nice for a radiologist who's done an upper GI to see a one-minute clip of the actual pathology next to the PACS image?" Gracia said.