Surgery Via Belly Button

April 1, 2011

Dr. Jaime Cardenas tries out the latest
gadgets in surgery technology at St. Joseph's Mercy
in Hot Springs, Ark.

The 85-foot, nearly 80,000-pound trailer expands to
1,200-square feet when parked. It contains
a clinical training area with advanced
audio-visual tools and five operating room
stations accommodating 10 surgeons
simultaneously.

 

Kenneth Burrell, student at the University
of Central Oklahoma, tries out the device at
Mercy Health Center in Oklahoma City.

Joyce Sanfilippo takes a closer look at
the device at St. John's Mercy Hospital in
Washington, Mo.

A time-saving training device has been making the rounds at Mercy.

Instead of flying hundreds of miles away and spending multiple nights on the road, Mercy surgeons were able to step outside their office and into a high tech tractor-trailer to see the latest advances in laparoscopic surgery.

The Covidien Innovation Tour recently made stops throughout Mercy locations in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The tour provided the latest devices for “belly button” procedures while keeping Mercy physicians close to their patients.

“Normally, our physicians have to travel across the country to learn about new procedures,” said Carol Harris, operating room supervisor at Mercy Memorial Health Center in Ardmore, Okla. “This hands-on training right here at home was a godsend.”

The 85-foot, nearly 80,000-pound trailer expands to 1,200-square feet when parked. It contains a clinical training area with advanced audio-visual tools and five operating room stations accommodating 10 surgeons simultaneously. There surgeons practice single-incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS) through the belly button, reducing four, ½-inch or smaller incisions normally associated with traditional laparoscopic surgery to just one 20-millimeter incision. The procedure can be used in gynecologic, bariatric and urologic surgeries.

“You’re not just sitting in a lecture, or talking about the instrument. You can put your hands on it and see how it applies to patients firsthand,” said Dr. Jaime Cardenas, surgeon at St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center in Hot Springs, Ark.

The SILS port is placed at the belly button and has a 5 millimeter shaft sticking out of it that is designed for 360-degree rotation. A second instrument tip is capable of 80-degree movements left to right and top to bottom.

“It has an elbow in it and works more like your fingers do,” said Arthur Beck, surgical technologist at St. John’s in Springfield, Mo.

During the training, surgeons practiced threading through an eyelet and picked up beans to place them in a container. Each was designed to simulate surgical procedures.

“The participants were able to handle the same tools that we use now in the operating rooms here at the hospital and also see some prototypes that we will be using in the near future,” said Dr. Thomas Riechers, chief of staff at St. John’s Mercy Hospital in Washington, Mo. “For everyone who attended, it was a fun and educational experience.”

At St. Edward Mercy Health Center in Fort Smith, Ark., area high school students working toward earning certification as nursing aides were invited to tour the trailer and try out the surgical devices.

“I never got to see anything cool like this when I was in nursing school,” said Nycole Oliver of Western Arkansas Technical College at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

While the main benefit to the patient is cosmetic, there is also less operative pain than traditional laparoscopic surgeries.

“Mercy’s partnership with Covidien is providing cutting-edge technology,” said Dr. Riechers. “It’s also another example of how Mercy is providing the best care for our patients.”

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