31.10.2018 change 31.10.2018

Faster ophthalmological and neurosurgical procedures thanks to technology from the University of Warsaw

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

A system consisting of a digital back and light glasses for operating microscope is being created at the University of Warsaw. It will facilitate the work of doctors performing surgery using microscopes. The technology will be used primarily for ophthalmic and neurosurgical procedures.

Operating microscope is a special optical device used to perform precise medical procedures in small spaces. It is currently mainly used by ophthalmologists and neurosurgeons. Operating microscopes are also used by plastic surgeons, as well as gynecologists performing colposcopies and dentists performing root canal procedures.

In addition to perfect optics, operating microscopes must have appropriate ergonomics tailored to the specifics of a given category of procedures - they may not block any manoeuvres required during the procedure, they must also facilitate the organization of work of the team performing the procedure. The first devices of this type appeared in the middle of the last century. Currently, the level of specialization is so great that the largest manufacturers offer separate devices for neurosurgical procedures, retinal surgery, cataract and cornea surgery, otolaryngological surgeries or spinal surgery.

The project D-ReS is carried out under the supervision of Dr. Piotr Wasylczyk from the Department of Optics at the Institute of Experimental Physics, the Faculty of Physics of the University of Warsaw. It`s goal is the development of a system consisting of a digital back and light glasses, thanks to which a three-dimensional image of the operation field will be displayed on a special monitor. Such an opto-electronic system means that operators will not have to spend a long time looking through an optical microscope.

"Our system will increase the ergonomics of the entire operating environment. For surgeons it means above all more comfortable work and less fatigue compared to operating with a standard optical microscope, which has a very limited field of view. Every head movement means at least a partial loss of the image. In addition, operators often work for many hours in an uncomfortable position. On top of, only the operating physician, and sometimes an assistant or student see what actually happens in the operating area. Our system will ensure that the image of activities and the current situation in the operating area will be available to other team members as well. Ultimately, it means faster and safer surgeries" - says Dr. Piotr Wasylczyk, quoted in the release sent to PAP.

The system will enable enhancing the image with additional Augmented Reality (AR) elements, which will allow, for example, to present measurement information.

The first element of the system for three-dimensional digital microscopic imaging for eye surgery and neurosurgery is ready. It is a head adapted for the most popular operational microscopes in Poland (Zeiss microscopes). A working prototype will be finished by the end of the year. Later, it will be improved in cooperation with doctors conducting microscopic operations. According to the release, this is a key stage for the success of the entire project.

"Research centres around the world are working on new imaging solutions for physicians, but only a few devices they have developed work in practice. Doctors refuse to use most of them because they are not ergonomic. That is why one of the biggest challenges in creating tools that support the work of doctors are consultations with practicing surgeons on an ongoing basis during development work" - explains the university.

The development of the D-ReS system is supported by the University Technology Transfer Centre of the University of Warsaw, which awarded a grant for pre-implementation work. "This is a chance to provide a truly revolutionary solution - primarily for ophthalmology, but also for neurosurgery and dentistry. It may also be applied in other areas" - says Robert Dwiliński, director of the University Technology Transfer Centre.

A similar existing solution is a digital back for optical microscope manufactured by the American company TrueVision Systems. The system developed at the University of Warsaw is expected to be smaller, lighter and transfer the image with a smaller delay. And that is only the first step on the way to real innovation. "Creating a digital back that allows 3D imaging for operating microscopes currently in use is an introduction to the construction of a fully digital system. There are no such systems on the market. The construction of optics for such a digital microscope is a relatively simple task, the chances of this project`s success are very high" - says Piotr Wasylczyk.

The advantage of such a fully digital microscope would be, above all, its compact dimensions. This would mean less restricted movement of the whole team in the operating room. Current optical microscopes are large and heavy devices suspended on powerful structures. (PAP)

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