‘THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT’ iPods Not Just for Music Anymore; May Become a Staple in the OR

Share Article

The iPod touch is not just for music and videos anymore. “Nurse, please hand me my iPod” is quickly becoming as common as “nurse, please hand me my scalpel” in some of the operating suites at Advocate Christ Medical Center as physicians increasingly turn to high-tech ways for enhancing the efficiency and precision of surgical procedures.

The iPod touch puts the power of GPS-like navigation in the hand of the surgeon

The iPod touch is not just for music and videos anymore.

“Nurse, please hand me my iPod” is quickly becoming as common as “nurse, please hand me my scalpel” in some of the operating suites at Advocate Christ Medical Center as physicians increasingly turn to high-tech ways for enhancing the efficiency and precision of surgical procedures.

The iPod touch used for surgery is a typical, off-the-shelf, hand-held device that any consumer can purchase, but includes a special app allowing the surgeon to track and map the patient’s anatomy at the surgical site, receive a digitized image of the surgical area on the iPod screen and use that image and anatomical calculations to make incredibly precise, accurate cuts.

The medical center has become the first institution in the nation to employ the Dash navigational software for iPod touch in the operating room since the iPod technology was approved for use by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. Trials of the device had been performed at another medical center prior to FDA approval.

Orthopedic surgeon, George Branovacki MD, has been using the iPod touch successfully since July of this year to perform knee-replacement procedures at Christ Medical Center. (See the video at http://bit.ly/MImfDf.) He expects to do as many as 30 such procedures by October, in time to present his work at an international meeting in Sydney, Australia.

“The iPod touch puts the power of GPS-like navigation in the hand of the surgeon. It improves the overall accuracy of the procedure, ensuring a precise cut in the right spot,” Dr. Branovacki said. “Helping the surgeon make better decisions leads to better patient outcomes.”

Using Dash for iPod touch in surgery also may extend the life of patients’ joint replacements because the device helps ensure the highest precision in the placement and alignment of the joint-implant components, experts say.

In the operating room, the iPod is first placed in a sterile, clear bag and then inserted into a small cradle with reflective spheres. An infrared camera system, affixed to a mobile, easy-to-maneuver platform, locates the iPod by detecting the spheres. Touching a digitizing probe, which is mounted to the iPod touch, to surgical landmarks allows the tracking system to record the information. Calculations are made in milliseconds, and the camera sends back wirelessly to the surgeon’s iPod a 3-D image of the patient’s joint or other area to be treated.

Other iPods and iPads that may be in use in the operating room and include the special app also pick up the same image, making the system a superior learning application for students and residents.

Providing the first app of its kind in the clinical environment, the Dash Smart Instrument Technologies™ are designed to bring the benefits of traditional operating-room navigation in a cost-effective, easy-to-use way. The iPod touch works remotely with the mobile platform and infrared camera to give surgeons accurate and intuitive guidance through each procedure and help them make interactive, fine-tuned adjustments to surgical instruments that ensure correct placement of artificial knee and hip implants.

Dash Smart Instrument Technologies for iPod touch were developed by Brainlab, which provides computer-assisted or navigational surgery technology for orthopedic, neurosurgical and spine procedures.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website