NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – Neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Louis scrubs up and gets ready for a trial run of the Hoag Hospital’s state-of-the-art operating room suite.
“Any neurosurgical procedure can be done in these operating rooms. And the level of technology and the advancements in technology that are here, are helping us to do the operations safely and effectively,” said Dr. Louis.
The doctor uses a fake skull with a tumor in it to demonstrate how the surgical theatre technology can make it possible for neurosurgeons to do test runs of a surgery before a patient goes under the knife.
“This is developed from F-16 flight technology and what this allows is it allows the surgeon to simulate the presence in the physical environment in this specific patient. What this enables me to do is rehearse the operation and try out two or three or even five different plans before I perform the operation in the patient,” said Dr. Louis.
The green lights, which improve visibility, come on as he demonstrates operating on someone’s brain. Hoag Hospital is one of only a handful of hospitals in the entire country to use this kind of equipment, which includes a 7D Surgical System for spinal procedures.
“This gives me what I like to call Superman vision which allows me to kind of see structures that I’m not able to see. So see through things, why’s around, whys on the other side of a tumor,” said Dr. LouisF.
Ultimately the technology is in Dr. Louis’s steady hands.
“This kind of thing is helpful every step of the way. So from beginning with the patient consultation, it allows the patients to have a better understanding of the anatomy and the surgical plan. Then once we get in the operating room having rehearsed the operation in VR beforehand, it’s almost like deja vú. I’ve kind of been in there so I know where the pitfalls are going to be, I know where the critical structures are going to be. So it makes it safer,” Dr. Louis said.
To use the technology, you do in fact have to be a brain surgeon.