High Definition Surgery at LRH
Surgeries at Lakes Regional Healthcare (LRH) have recently become high definition. All surgical scopes used during colonoscopies and EGDs are now high definition, which means the images are clearer and the ability to see tissue changes within the lining of the esophagus and colon sooner is increased. LRH Director of Surgical Services Robyn Paulsen said, “We are really happy to offer high definition technology with our scopes. We’ve provided them since October and are amazed at the clarity of images and what that means for our patients.”
High definition in the healthcare industry is similar to high definition television of which many people are familiar. In high definition, fine lines, wrinkles, colors, and edges not seen otherwise are visible. This image clarity occurs because high definition has over twice as many active lines to produce the image, making the resolution higher. According to Paulsen, the high definition scopes also have a wider field of view. Colon polyps and other abnormalities can hide behind folds in the colon. This new enhanced field of view shows more of the colon completely, catching those small changes sooner during exams. Paulsen said, “This helps diagnose abnormalities in the colon and esophagus earlier, which has a profound impact on a patient’s treatment options and prognosis.”
Abnormalities in the colon are found during a colonoscopy with the use of a high definition colonoscope, which is a hand-guided tube that is inserted into the rectum. The tube itself contains a camera and is connected to a television that allows the surgeon to view the inside of the rectum and large intestine. Air is pushed into the tube inflating the colon, allowing the tube to easily pass through the entire rectum and colon. Colonoscopies are performed on people at risk for colon cancer or diverticulitis, as well as on those with abdominal pain and unexplained anemia, among other things. Paulsen said, “Anyone over 50 years of age or with a family history of colon cancer should get a colonoscopy. Plus, anyone with bloating, diarrhea, constipation, unexplained weight loss, bloody stools, abdominal pain, anemia, and any unexplained change in bowel habits may benefit from a colonoscopy.”
Abnormalities in the esophagus are found during an EGD with the use of a high definition gastroscope. Similar to a colonoscope, a gastroscope is much shorter in length and a few millimeters narrower. The video guided tube is inserted into the mouth and passes through the esophagus and follows into the stomach as it is hooked to a television monitor. EGDs are performed on people for a variety of reasons; chronic reflux, difficulty swallowing, and uncontrolled heartburn are just a few.
According to LRH President Jason Harrington, “Offering high definition surgeries is another way we continually reinvest in new, advanced technology. This directly affects the quality of care our patients receive and is one of our strategic commitments to meet our mission to improve the health and well-being of people in the Iowa Great Lakes region.”