In healthcare, technology is a boon, especially for medical procedures to achieve higher precision, minimum invasion and accelerated recovery. Dubai Health Authority (DHA) run Rashid Hospital has recently introduced the most advanced 3D imaging equipment and navigation system for accurate and precision-based surgeries especially spinal surgeries and neurosurgery.
The three-in-one system known as O-Arm provides real-time imaging of a patient’s anatomy with high-quality images and a large field-of-view in both 2D and 3D.
Dr. Bilal El Yafawi, Consultant Orthotrauma surgeon and head of Orthotrauma department in Rashid Hospital says, “This is the future. In fact, in the next phase our aim is to achieve robotic surgery. This technology offers many benefits for patients.”
El Yafawi says previously for spinal surgeries and fractures, patients needed to undergo conventional CT scans, and then the surgery would take place with the help of those scans. Post-surgery, another CT scan would be conducted. In some cases, patients needed another surgery if the position of the screw needed alignment. The total time in hospital post-surgery was around seven days.
El Yafawi says, “With the introduction of the O-arm, we are able to use this system to do the CT scan, which takes only 25 seconds, in the operation theatre. The O-Arm system provides us with all the images in real time in a 2D or 3D format and provides 3D navigation. This allows surgeons to precisely place the screw and fix the spine using real-time imaging. After the procedure, another CT scan is conducted in the OT itself; this eliminates the need for re-surgery even in complicated cases. Moreover, the incisions in the spine are much smaller than those needed in conventional surgery, thus recovery time is maximum three days versus a week in conventional surgery.”
El Yafawi says, “This technology has helped facilitate advanced surgical approaches like minimally invasive surgeries, it gives us as surgeons’ additional information in challenging procedures, like heavier patients or patients with unusual anatomy.
“Another major advantage is that it helps reduce the radiation dose to the patients, surgeons and staff eliminating the need to wear lead protective apparel during the navigated steps of the procedure. It’s in line with our objective to enhance the safety of the patients as well as the healthcare providers.”
The O-arm technology leads to the following benefits:
- Minimally invasive surgeries
- Less complication rates
- Less operative time
- Less blood loss during surgery
- Minimises exposure to ionizing radiation hazards
- Eliminates revision surgeries
- Less wound complication with better cosmetic surgical scars
- Less hospital stays
- Speedy patient recovery and rehab
- Cost-effective advantage
Mahra Falaknaz is El Yafawi’s patient who recently underwent spinal surgery using this technology. The 30-year-old Emirati was skiing in Switzerland when an accident left her immobilised. Doctors informed her that she needed spinal surgery. “I decided to come back from Geneva and to get the surgery done in Rashid Hospital. I was on a stretcher and came back to Dubai and was admitted right away in the Hospital. I had several options to get the surgery done there but insisted to come back and do it in Rashid Hospital as I trust their expertise.”
El Yafawi said, “The CT scan confirmed she had a spinal fracture. The surgery was performed using this technology and she has made a complete recovery.”
Falaknaz said, “After three days I was able to walk and lead a normal life. In fact, I lead an active life – I work, go diving, snorkelling and regularly go horse riding. I love water sports as well and also jet ski and dive regularly. I’m very happy with my decision that I chose to come back and do the surgery back home in Dubai.”
Dr Mohammed Al Redha, Director of Project Management Office and Informatics and Smart Health, DHA said, “We introduced this system in the 5th cycle of the Dubai Future Accelerators initiative. We are pleased to see the outcome. Technology has the ability to transform healthcare for the better. We aim to use this to better healthcare, reduce costs and drive efficiency. Our core goal is of course patient safety, improved patient care and patient satisfaction.”
El Yafawi said that in future the department will move towards Robotic Surgery.