As they prepare for the case, the 55 inch 4K big screen monitor is rolled in and placed next to the patient. The first reaction from the circulator is how are we ever going to fit that in our operating room? The reaction of the surgeon is nervous excitement.
Within minutes of inserting the scope in the abdomen the entire OR staff is staring at the screen. The image is bright, the colors are more vivid, and the image is so clear that when you stand right next to it you don’t see a single pixel.
This was the reaction on the first United States trial when it was conducted for 4K big screen surgery. This same course of events has been repeated in cases nationwide.
The initial thought was that 4K was just a better HD, but users quickly realize that it is so much more. To understand how we got here, it is important to recognize where we have been.
The first HD Laparoscopic imaging systems were introduced into the operating room in 2005. For the last 11 years we have been living with minimal advances in image quality. Three chip cameras attempted to add more color clarity compared to single chip cameras, 1080p attempted to improve motion blur associated with interlaced video, but overall the technology stayed the same.
Very recently, 4K has been introduced to the market, which provides 4 times the resolution of HD. This added resolution enables a new category of surgery called, Big Screen Surgery, whereby a 55” Operative Monitor displays full screen 4K resolution video from a surgical camera head. This is a major leap forward and a technical hurdle for most vendors, which is why it took 11 years. It is more than just a 4K monitor or single camera head. It is an entire 4K imaging chain.
What is 4K Technology?
4K technology utilizes a camera head with a rigid telescope capable of supporting the light and contrast required for a 4K sensor and the image is displayed on a large 55” full 4K screen. This system can be used across all laparoscopic, arthroscopic, and ENT procedures. It is available in 4mm, 5mm, and 10mm enhanced rigid rod lens telescopes. The added resolution provides detailed views of anatomy while the expanded color space (on some camera systems) helps improve the ability to reproduce colors that approach the limit of what the human eye can see during surgery.
What is required for 4K Big Screen Surgery?
The essential elements required to get Full 4K is a camera head with a full 4K sensor, the video tower to support it, Rigid telescopes capable of displaying higher contrast than HD telescopes, and either a 31” or 55” 4K operative monitor. It can also be helpful to have a boom to support the 55” monitor for optimum positioning.
What makes up a 4K image?
A 4K UHD image is so much more than resolution. It has improved light, color, and resolution. Performance will vary widely among vendors, but the color performance is a prerequisite to being able to visualize fine structure in high precision. The expanded color gamut can see two times that of HD allowing for fresh vs pooled blood to appear as different colors while maintaining brightness.
What does 4K mean for the future of surgery?
Higher resolution, better ability to see fine anatomy, and the ability to support less invasive and smaller diameter scopes will always be in demand. Just as HD transformed the market from SD, 4K will do the same. However, this transition comes with the added benefit of an immersive surgical experience with the large 55″ monitor. In time, this will become the standard just as we moved from 19″ to 26″ and 32″ monitors in HD.
For more information, visit: medical.olympusamerica.com