UIHC gets innovative ORs


Recovering from neurosurgery used to take weeks, possibly months.

But with the latest technology at the UI Hospitals and Clinics, patients undergoing the procedure can return to their daily routines within days.

The new surgical suites — the first of their kind in the state — are equipped with tools allowing surgeons to operate major and minimally invasive vascular procedures and neurosurgery in the same room.

“This is a unique design,” said Javier Campos, the executive medical director of operating rooms at UIHC. “Rather than taking patients from room to room, it all can be done in one operation room.”

Previously, operating rooms had tools for either major or minimally invasive surgery, meaning certain procedures were held in different locations. Now, if patients in these units require additional surgeries, the rooms are equipped with all the tools. If surgeons need to switch from a minimal to major surgery, they can do so without any problems.

Ultimately, this will save time and improve complex health care, UIHC officials said. Individuals with brain aneurysms or those who have suffered strokes will likely be patients undergoing surgery in these rooms, which opened last week.

“It’s the cutting edge,” said David Hasan, a neurosurgeon recruited by UIHC officials to work in the operating rooms.

Hasan, who plans to start in July, said he thinks patients will be able to return to their normal routines after 48 to 72 hours.

The high-tech facilities, which Campos said cost an estimated $6 million to $10 million, include X-ray imaging machines. The X-ray equipment lets surgeons navigate a catheter, or tube, in an artery in the leg toward the desired location in the head.

From there, the catheter can patch weak spots with materials into the brain, UIHC officials said. If something happens and surgeons need to switch to an open surgery, they will be able to.

“There’s no shaving the head or opening the skull, making it much easier for patients to recover,” Hasan said.

The new technology keeps the UIHC at the forefront as hospitals across the nation enter a new century of innovation, Campos said.

“Most advanced treatments involve techniques that bridge two disciplines together,” said Matthew Howard, the head of the UI neurology department.

He thinks neurosurgeons will see more patients at the UIHC, he said, especially those with more complex cases.

The suites will also benefit trauma patients with excessive bleeding, Campos said.

“People from all of Iowa can benefit from this when they walk out of the hospital in a short time,” he said.

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