Surgeons perform computer-assisted kidney transplant

The new technology helps surgeons navigate inside the human body Keystone Archive

A team of doctors at the university hospital in Lausanne has performed a kidney transplant operation using a novel form of computer-assisted technology, which enables them to "navigate" inside the organs of the body.

This content was published on May 28, 2001 minutes

In a world first, they used computerised images to help guide Monday's operation as they removed a kidney from a living donor. The technology is designed by a Lausanne-based company - 2C3D medical - which specialises in surgical navigation.

"It's a way to visualise invisible structures," said Gaetan Marti of 2C3D medical. "A surgeon, who's operating, has a lack of visual information and doesn't know where to find the relevant structures. Our technology overcomes that problem."

"You can see exactly where you are performing," said surgeon Vincent Bettschart, who performed the operation. "Most of the surgical act is a question of dissecting and finding the right structures. If you already know where the structures are, you can just go there and cut."

Using an endoscope, surgeons can see inside the organs of the body. The new technology allows this endoscopic image to be superimposed on a three-dimensional anatomical model of the patient.

Bettschart said his team would need to analyse the operation but that the computer images had clear-cut benefits.

"This was the first time and we need to validate the tool but in the future, it should improve safety and speed up surgery," he said.

By allowing surgeons to be more precise, the new technology may also help reduce recovery and convalescence times.

by Vincent Landon

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