Newswise — Boston, Mass. — Massachusetts Eye and Ear is enhancing the care it brings to adult and pediatric retina patients with a new and innovative vitreoretinal surgical platform, known as the NGENUITY 3D Visualization System. Designed to enhance the operating experience for retina surgeons and their patients, the new “heads up” technology offers surgeons better visualization in surgery, engenders a more collaborative operating room environment and helps reduce surgeon fatigue. Mass. Eye and Ear is the first medical center in New England to acquire the state-of-the-art system, which will be offered at the hospital’s two locations in Boston: 243 Charles Street and 800 Huntington Avenue.
NGENUITY is designed to enhance visualization of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye, giving surgeons and operating room staff exceptional resolution, image depth, clarity and color contrast. Two key features are the 3D view, which enhances depth perception, and the ability for surgeons to magnify an image while maintaining a wide field of view. Both features give surgeons an enhanced view of their instruments in relationship to the tissues or structures in the eye, which can improve surgical precision.
The NGenuity system may also facilitate collaboration and better communication among team members in the operating room. The importance of teamwork and its positive impact on patient care were the focus of a feasibility study conducted by a team of Harvard researchers (Annals of Surgery, March 2014). Nearly half of the participants (221 active operating room members) ranked “improving communication” as the most important change they would make in their clinical practice.
“Effective communication is vital to achieving optimal surgical care and patient outcomes,” said John B. Miller, M.D., an adult retina surgeon and Director of Retinal Imaging at Mass. Eye and Ear. “By giving everyone in the operating room the same great surgical view, we can work more smoothly as a team to provide even better patient care.”
With retina surgeries lasting from thirty minutes to three hours, the ergonomic “heads-up” design of NGenuity is designed to help reduce surgeon fatigue as well as degenerative back and neck disease, common after many years of traditional microscope use. During surgery, the team wears 3D glasses to operate while looking straight ahead at the magnified, high definition 3D screen. Rather than bending their necks to look through the eye-pieces of a microscope, surgeons can sit at their most ergonomic position throughout surgery.
"Heads-up surgery can decrease surgeon fatigue, which may translate into safer surgeries for patients, and longer operating careers for surgeons,” said Yoshihiro Yonekawa, M.D., a pediatric and adult retina surgeon at Mass. Eye and Ear and Boston Children’s Hospital. The enhanced 3D visualization also requires lower light levels while maintaining an ultra-crisp view of the retina. “This can potentially reduce light toxicity, which may benefit patients, because although rare, the retina can be damaged from light exposure of conventional surgery if the levels are too intense,” said Dr. Yonekawa.
“Leveraging this premium new technology continues our long history of leading surgical excellence in retina care,” said Joan W. Miller, M.D., Chief of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and Chair of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. “We are pleased to lead the region in providing the very best care to our pediatric and adult patients with retina disorders.”
Partially adapted from a news release by Novartis.
About Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Mass. Eye and Ear clinicians and scientists are driven by a mission to find cures for blindness, deafness and diseases of the head and neck. Now united with Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass. Eye and Ear is the world's largest vision and hearing research center, developing new treatments and cures through discovery and innovation. Mass. Eye and Ear is a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and trains future medical leaders in ophthalmology and otolaryngology, through residency as well as clinical and research fellowships. Internationally acclaimed since its founding in 1824, Mass. Eye and Ear employs full-time, board-certified physicians who offer high-quality and affordable specialty care that ranges from the routine to the very complex. In the 2016–2017 “Best Hospitals Survey,” U.S. News & World Report ranked Mass. Eye and Ear #1 in the nation for ear, nose and throat care and #1 in New England for eye care. For more information about life-changing care and research, or to learn how you can help, please visit MassEyeAndEar.org.
About the Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology
The Harvard Medical School (HMS) Department of Ophthalmology (eye.hms.harvard.edu) is one of the leading and largest academic departments of ophthalmology in the nation. More than 350 full-time faculty and trainees work at nine HMS affiliate institutions, including Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Joslin Diabetes Center/Beetham Eye Institute, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, VA Maine Healthcare System, and Cambridge Health Alliance. Formally established in 1871, the department has been built upon a strong and rich foundation in medical education, research, and clinical care. Through the years, faculty and alumni have profoundly influenced ophthalmic science, medicine, and literature—helping to transform the field of ophthalmology from a branch of surgery into an independent medical specialty at the forefront of science.