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Hybrid OR Does Double Duty

The new hybrid operating room (OR) at CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System combines advanced diagnostic imaging, minimally invasive techniques and the ability to use images to guide intervention to treat complex cases close to home.

Hybrids are defined as combinations of two or more things. The hybrid OR at CHRISTUS St. Michael combines upgraded imaging, such as intra-operative fluoroscopy, with advanced surgical technology to allow surgeons to see what’s happening inside patients in real time during procedures. Fluoroscopy X-ray technology captures movement, the current location of internal structures and other details and displays them on a monitor for doctors to reference before, during and after surgery. This technology helps doctors perform surgery even more precisely, using smaller incisions, or no incisions, if performing endoscopic procedures.

“With the addition of this OR, our doctors can get a clear picture of what’s happening inside a patient and then seamlessly correct an issue,” says Lesa Stone, MSN, RN, CNOR, director of surgical services at CHRISTUS St. Michael. “Building the hybrid OR was a $3 million investment. Now, people in the communities we serve won’t have to travel hours away to get this kind of advanced care. The hybrid OR saves time and, ultimately, will save lives.”

Rapid Recovery

The less invasive a procedure is, the more quickly patients recover. The hybrid OR at CHRISTUS St. Michael provides a safe environment that helps patients return to their families, daily activities and jobs as soon as possible. Because of the precision the hybrid OR allows, some procedures that used to require an overnight stay in the hospital can now be done as outpatient procedure with patients going home the same day.

“The minimally invasive, image-guided techniques our doctors use in the hybrid operating suite help patients feel better faster and stay closer to home for complicated procedures,” Lesa says. “That’s a win-win.”

Big Picture, Tiny Vessels

Another of the new imaging technologies available in the hybrid OR is called intravascular ultrasound. This technique uses sound waves to map blood vessels. Using the information that bounces back, doctors can tell if vessels are blocked, damaged or otherwise in need of repair. With this technology on-site, the hybrid OR is expanding the capabilities and procedural offerings in many different departments, including neurosurgery and vascular surgery. Future additions to cardiovascular care will include transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR procedure, which offers patients an alternative to open-heart surgery.