St. Luke’s Hospital has made a $3 million investment in new surgical imaging technology for patients who have reconstructive, gynecological, urological, gastroenterological, and other surgeries. This device can even be used on patients who have frostbite to see how deep it affected the tissue. The use of this new technology can help surgeons make decisions during surgery based on the quality of blood flow in vessels that provide oxygen to organs. St. Luke’s is the first and only hospital in Eastern Iowa to use this advancement from Stryker called SPY–PHI.
“Adequate blood flow is critical to tissue health and the ability to visualize blood flow in real time while in surgery, can reduce postoperative complications and improved surgical outcomes,” said Dr. Jonathan Rippentrop, Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa urologist and St. Luke’s Minimally Invasive Surgery medical director. “Traditionally, surgeons relied on their clinical judgment to determine whether or not tissue was receiving adequate blood flow. Now, surgeons at St. Luke’s have an advanced tool to help visualize blood flow during surgery.”
The technology uses a near-infrared low-powered laser light source to stimulate a fluorescent imaging agent that has been injected into the blood stream. The fluorescent agent binds to the proteins in blood and circulates through the body. When stimulated by near-infrared light, the protein-bound agent emits a fluorescence signal which enables visualization of blood flowing through vessels and into tissue. The fluorescence is captured by a camera, processed, and displayed on a video monitor for the surgeon to review.
Because the agent is bound to blood, where the blood goes, it goes. If there is no fluorescence, it can mean that there is compromised blood flow. In situations of poor blood flow, surgeons can make certain decisions or act while the patient is still in the operating room. Unlike traditional X-ray, this technology allows surgeons to repeat blood flow assessment numerous times throughout the procedure. In addition, surgical staff can stream, capture, record and print surgical images and videos directly from the platform for later review