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UPMC South Side Opens New Digital Operating Rooms And Learning Center For Orthopaedic Surgery

PITTSBURGH, December 10, 2002UPMC South Side hospital has opened new technologically advanced digital operating rooms with a learning center for orthopaedic surgery. It is the new home of UPMC’s orthopaedic sports medicine surgical staff, led by Freddie Fu, M.D., and Christopher Harner, M.D.

Certain orthopaedic surgeries previously performed at UPMC Montefiore in Oakland are now done at UPMC South Side, 2000 Mary St.

“Locating these new digital operating rooms at UPMC South Side, not far from the UPMC Sports Performance Complex (at 3200 South Water St.), makes Pittsburgh’s South Side home for an integrated sports medicine campus that will contribute to the economic growth of the neighborhood,” said Marcie Caplan, chief executive officer of UPMC South Side. “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Fu, Dr. Harner and their team of world-renowned sports medicine surgery experts.”

In addition to Drs. Fu and Harner, the UPMC orthopaedic sports medicine surgeons who have moved their surgical cases to UPMC South Side are Craig Bennett, M.D., Mark Rodosky, M.D., and Patrick McMahon, M.D.

The surgeons will continue to maintain their clinical patient visits along with the primary care physician staff at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine at the Sports Performance Complex.

UPMC South Side’s new, 2,500 square-foot surgical suite and training center allows the use of emerging technology to help provide the best surgical patient care. The new operating rooms’ voice-activated and digital surgical equipment reduces operating room time and increases the surgical team’s efficiency and control of the overall operating room. With an adjoining observation room and simulation laboratory that are both linked to the operating rooms by sophisticated image routing technology, the new suite also provides state-of-the-art training and education for orthopaedic surgery residents and fellows.

The suite was designed, constructed and continues to be serviced by Smith & Nephew Endoscopy, a leading worldwide manufacturer and developer of technologically advanced endoscopic medical devices, such as those commonly used by the UPMC orthopaedic sports medicine surgeons for advanced arthroscopic procedures.

UPMC South Side is one of the first institutions to use Smith & Nephew’s HERMES™-ready Vision 635 Digital Image Management System – one of the devices centrally controlled through voice activation.

“With HERMES, I can control, with simple voice commands, the endoscopic surgical and video equipment in the room, and items such as the positioning of the operating table and lighting, ” said Dr. Fu, who is professor and chairman of the department of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine .

“In a traditional operating room, many of these tasks must be done by nurses, who can now concentrate on the patient instead of retrieving and moving equipment around,” he said. “HERMES gives me greater control over the operating room environment by extending my reach beyond the sterile field, adding an extra ‘hand’ to the surgical team and operating room staff, making the surgery process less fatiguing and more efficient.”

A voice card inserted into the system assures that HERMES will obey verbal commands only from the surgeon. Operating room staff members can input manual commands through use of a touch-screen pendant.

“The new digital operating rooms, each 600-square-feet, were designed for maximum efficiency and space through use of booms and retractable arms that hang from the ceiling,” said Gina Ruskewicz, R.N., director of surgical services at UPMC South Side.

The digital imaging technology allows the surgeon to instantly call for and see high-definition, medical-grade, real-time video of the patient’s anatomy. The surgeon can also instantly access archived images and medical records of the patient to get a comprehensive view of the patient’s condition. “The image capture and routing technology also enables the surgeon to communicate with others on the medical-surgical team so there is little delay in patient care,” added Ruskewicz.

The new surgical suite and learning center encompasses two operating rooms connected by an observation room in the middle. In this room, visitors stay out of the immediate operating room area, but can view the surgery on monitors and communicate with the surgical team through intercoms. Nearby, is a learning center called a “wet lab” where orthopaedic surgery residents and fellows can observe via teleconferencing the actual surgeries in progress in the operating rooms while practicing the techniques on simulated anatomical joints and models in the lab. The only such lab in University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the wet lab is intricately linked with the operating room and observation room by the sophisticated video and audio technology.

“The new digital operating rooms integrated with the wet lab provides the ideal educational environment for medical students and surgeons-in-training,” said Dr. Harner, professor of orthopaedic surgery, chief of the division of sports medicine and director of education for UPMC Center for Sports Medicine. “It is one of few such learning and training centers that we know of. In addition to education and training, the new facility provides exciting opportunities for research and development of new techniques,” said Dr. Harner. The University of Pittsburgh’s orthopaedic surgical residency and fellowship training program is among the largest and most highly regarded in the world.

“UPMC has always been on the leading edge,” said Ron Sparks, president of Smith & Nephew Endoscopy. “The integration of emerging and digital technologies in the surgical environment at UPMC South Side is critical to the health system’s ability to teach medical students and residents in a real-life setting.”

Smith & Nephew’s sophisticated image routing equipment allows surgical video and audio to be sent, real-time or archived, not only to physicians, nurses or students at remote locations within UPMC South Side, but also at remote locations anywhere in the world, such as medical or surgical conferences or other teaching hospitals.

Smith & Nephew Endoscopy is a world leader in the development and commercialization of endoscopic techniques. It is one of the core business units of Smith & Nephew plc, a leading worldwide medical devices company with a highly successful track record in developing, manufacturing and marketing a wide variety of innovative technologies. The company has extensive marketing and distribution capabilities, with established sales in more than 90 countries.

Founded in 1889, the hospital now known as UPMC South Side served South Side citizens as an “industrial hospital” during the heyday of the iron, steel, glass and transportation industries in south Pittsburgh. The hospital merged with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 1996. The hospital’s staff continues the tradition of caring while bringing state-of-the-art medical and healthcare techniques, knowledge, services and equipment to its patients.

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