When it comes to the evolution of surgery, there is growing appeal in minimally invasive procedures, because of the many benefits they offer to patients, such as accelerated recovery. In addition, minimally invasive procedures, with their minor or complete lack of incisions, result in fewer complications, and ultimately more successful outcomes.
Despite the numerous benefits of minimally invasive procedures, there is still a need to overcome the greatest challenge that these procedures pose to surgeons, a lack of visibility.
Historically, surgeons utilized large incisions to gain access and direct visibility to the surgical site. With minimally invasive procedures, however, such direct line of sight is not available. Thus, advanced technology is required which can provide surgeons with indirect visibility of the device and anatomy to enable them to safely and effectively perform the procedure.
3D fiber optic shape sensing offers such a solution by providing clear and intuitive visualization of minimally invasive devices within the anatomy. Shape sensing’s unique advantages can significantly improve device navigation and localization, resulting in safer, faster, and more effective procedures. These capabilities are particularly appealing in the field of endourology.
Endourological Procedures: The Benefits of 3D Shape Sensing
One of the most common endourological procedures is cystoscopy, the treatment of bladder stones and tumors. With this procedure, surgeons can remove prostate tissue obstructing the ureter or place stents in the urethra to relieve blockages.
There are many potential complications within the field of endourology which differ based on the specific procedure. For cystoscopy, these complications can include severe bleeding, bladder perforation, transfusion, and urinary tract infection. One study on cystoscopy reported that the overall complication rate was 15% and increased to 24% in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Yet another study reported a UTI risk following cystoscopy of up to 10%.
These complications warrant surgical improvements that help to reduce risk and improve surgical outcomes; one way to accomplish this is through modifications and advances to the navigation and visualization methods utilized.
The traditional method of visualization involved in endourological procedures is fluoroscopy, or X-ray imaging. This technique produces real-time video of the interior movements. As an alternative, 3D shape sensing has the potential to not only provide improved visualization and navigation capabilities, but its unique advantages can mitigate the health risks to the surgeon and patient associated with X-ray imaging.
Fluoroscopy offers only a two-dimensional view, which can often complicate device navigation and slow down a procedure. In comparison, 3D shape sensing, as evident by the name, offers three-dimensional visualization of the entire length of a device. When paired and overlaid with anatomical imaging such as MRI or CT scans, this provides a full 3D perspective of where the device is located.
When visibility is improved, navigation to the targeted location also improves.
This is because shape sensing offers information about the entire instrument length, plotted in real-time. When used in conjunction with imaging techniques that display the patient’s anatomy, there is a clear picture of the device’s current location in the patient.
With 3D fiber optic shape sensing, there is no uncertainty regarding where the laser, ultrasound, or other surgical tool is or what area comes next, meaning surgeons can more easily navigate the urological system. Not only does this result in a smoother surgery, but it also lessens the surgery time and results in fewer complications.
Whereas fluoroscopy only provides a visual for the area being x-rayed, shape sensing provides location details for the entire device utilized for the procedure.
For those concerned about the learning curve associated with transitioning to a 3D visualization system, studies have shown that such systems are well accepted by surgeons and are generally easy for them to learn and implement.
Fluoroscopy, as a collection of X-rays, also utilizes radiation to obtain an image, creating a dangerous environment not only for the patient, but also for the technicians, physicians, and other healthcare staff in the area..
Shape sensing does not use radiation, making it a safer visualization method for all patients. This also makes shape sensing a preferred imaging method for pregnant women since radiation exposure may lead to congenital disabilities. Additionally, in some cases, a contrast dye may be used with fluoroscopy, but this also comes with a risk of allergic reaction. Shape sensing, and its lack of contrast dye usage, has no risk of allergic reaction.
With better visualization also comes fewer mistakes since there is more information provided to the surgeon about what is present under the surface. Additionally, with real-time images, the surgeon can quickly react to anything that might occur during the procedure, further reducing potential complications. With complications as one of the greatest concerns in endourological procedures, having a way to confidently avoid them significantly improves surgical outcomes.
3D Shape Sensing for Endourological Procedures
When it comes to a successful surgery, the outcome is entirely reliant on how well the surgeon can see the operation site. Minimally invasive procedures offer the benefits of faster recoveries and lower risk of infection, but they also minimize the viewing field. The remedy to this problem lies in shape sensing.
No matter how complex the environment is, 3D shape sensing restores imaging to the surgeon, offering them the critical information they need to perform quicker and safer endourological procedures .
If you are interested in how 3D technology can benefit your surgical device, reach out to us for more information about our 3D fiber optic shape sensing technology.