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Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 05:00 AM

Marshall Medical first hospitals in country to have 4K medical monitors

New monitors installed in operating rooms at Marshall Medical North and South – which are the first hospitals in the United States to own the Olympus medical monitors – allow surgeons to see blood vessels, tissue and organs better than ever before.

“They have a much better picture, much more clear. The colors are brighter, more intense. It’s exciting that this hospital continues to upgrade equipment to provide better service to the community,”

Dr. Cynthia Monk said just after removing a gall bladder laparoscopically guided by an image on 4K monitors. 

4K has four times more resolution than high definition, meaning it captures more details of an image. The sharper, more detailed picture helps improve surgical vision, making it ideal for ORs.

“This system has the clearest image and produces a wider color gamut than any other product on the market. You are the first hospital in the country to own this equipment,”

said Ward Smallwood, representative for Olympus America, Inc., which sold the equipment to Marshall Medical. 

Dr. Melvin Thornbury, Jr., an OB/GYN, was the first doctor at Marshall South to do a surgical procedure using the monitors. He said the monitors’ ‘narrow band imaging’ helps doctors distinguish between different kinds of tissue.

“It makes endometriosis show up more clearly. If you are not looking real close you might miss it. It’s definitely an improvement over what we had.”

Clearer pictures are especially helpful when doing gynecological procedures laparoscopically.

The hospital’s previous high-definition system was at least 10 years old, said Jonathan Smith, director of surgical services at South. The 4K system is a long-term investment expected to last at least 6-8 years, he said, until technology improves even more. The hospital had the option of upgrading to a less expensive, new HD system, but opted to make the substantial investment in the more advanced 4K system instead.

Dr. Stephen Britt was one of the surgeons who tested systems and unanimously recommended the Olympus system for purchase to the hospital board.

“The picture resolution is incredible,” he said. “It really helps in laparoscopic surgery. The better we can see, the safer we are. It’s phenomenal.”

Tim Bean, director of surgery for both hospitals, said other benefits to the 4K system include the ability to download images from other parts of the hospital – such as radiology - and view it on a monitor during a procedure. Also, pictures can be uploaded to doctor’s offices for use during patient visits, he said.

Smallwood called it “the perfect storm” as to how Marshall Medical became the first hospital in the country to own the 4K monitors. The hospitals’ aging equipment was nearing the end of its life at the same time that Olympus was ready to release its new 4K equipment. Company representatives knew that MMC surgeons do the type of procedures in which they would appreciate having enhanced visibility – such as colorectal and gastric sleeves.

“We knew your surgeons would recognize the value in being able to see more clearly,” he said. “Many places don’t do as many minimally-invasive procedures as here. It was a very good fit.”

That’s because it works well for all different procedures, including the variety of specialties offered at both hospitals.

“All specialties agreed this is the best system. That is not common,” Smallwood said.