Hospital invests in exciting technology |

Hospital invests in exciting technology

Mary Beth TeSelle
Special to The Union

For the physicians and staff at Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, providing the very best care possible to those in our community is at the core of their mission.

“People living in Nevada County should know that they get the highest level of care right here, close to home,” says Dr. Stephen Waterbrook, general surgeon at SNMH.

For Dr. Waterbrook and his colleagues, an exciting new chapter in that commitment is currently being installed at the hospital and will soon be in action, elevating SNMH’s surgical care and benefiting both patients and surgeons.

SNMH has invested in new surgical systems that are being installed in the hospital’s three operating rooms and will be in use in the coming weeks. These systems contain state-of-the-art technology that provide surgeons with better visualization, dexterity and control. For patients, that translates to faster surgeries, quicker recovery, and remarkable accuracy.

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“These new systems have the capacity to decrease or even eliminate complications in the most common surgeries we do,” explains Dr. Nelson Maldonado, general surgeon at SNMH.

Dr. Maldonado explains that like all laparoscopic surgeries, this system uses camera technology to allow the surgeon to see inside the patient’s body while using only small incisions. However, SNMH’s new system not only has advanced camera technology, it also uses something called SPY fluorescence.

“This is a dye that allows the surgeon to see more than what the naked eye could see inside the human body,” says Dr. Maldonado. “With the dye, we can see the blood flow and circulation through certain organs. We can also see the anatomy better. This not only improves accuracy, but it allows us to identify structures more quickly, which makes the procedures quicker, which is better for the patient.”

In addition, the system gives the surgeon complete control to access the tools needed immediately, as the surgery progresses, rather than relying on support staff to provide what they need. “Everything we need is on board the system already,” Dr. Maldonado say. “At the same time, unlike robotic assisted surgeries, the physician is still manipulating the tools.”

The system’s incredible high-resolution images are not only helpful to the surgeon and staff during the procedure – the images can also be shared with the patient or other physicians after the surgery is complete.

“We can use the images captured during surgery to show the patient what we saw,” says Dr. Maldonado. “This can be used for customized post-op instructions or to educate patients or to show a before and after image.”

The surgeons who will be using the system look forward to the benefits their patients will experience… and express gratitude to the hospital leadership for making the technology a reality.

“These towers represent a significant investment by SNMH in the quality of surgical care for Nevada County,” Dr. Waterbrook says. “They offer state-of-the-art technology that allows the surgeons better visualization during surgery, more control over intricate bowel surgery, more safety for those having gallbladder surgery and colon surgery. Purchase of the towers was a team effort from OR technologists to the highest level of administration who saw a need, and despite a challenging financial situation, did what was best for our community.”

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