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    CCH Expansion: Hybrid ORs and the Future of Medicine

    Let’s talk about cars for a second. A traditional car runs on just a gasoline engine. A hybrid car, on the other hand, has that plus an electric motor. Both cars will eventually get you to the same location, but the mechanical process of getting there and the quality of the ride might be a little different. A hybrid operating room works similarly.


    In a traditional operating room (OR), a surgical team uses typical surgical equipment to perform a procedure. In a hybrid OR, it’s not just the surgical team and equipment there are multiple types of specialists and many different types of equipment. For example, if a patient is having heart surgery, it might not be just the cardiac surgeon and surgical nurses in the surgical theatre, there may also be cardiac interventionists and vascular surgeons. A patient can be treated in either a traditional or hybrid OR. But just like the traditional or hybrid car, the surgical process and the patient experience might have some differences. In 2020, Chester County Hospital will be opening a new hybrid OR for heart procedures. If your heart surgery is performed in the hybrid OR, here’s how your surgery might be different then it would be now.

    A render of a new hybrid OR surgery room that will be installed at Penn Medicine. 

    Imaging tests during procedures will be quicker and better. Having imaging tests, such as X-rays or ultrasounds, is a normal part of preparing for surgery. Sometimes, a surgeon will need additional images in the middle of a procedure and in a traditional OR, those images can throw a detour into the surgery. In a regular OR, the surgeon will need to use portable equipment that’s brought in from another room. Taking time to bring in the equipment and set it up adds time to the procedure.


    The longer your procedure, the more time you spend under anesthesia, the medicine that makes you fall asleep so you don’t feel pain or remember the procedure. Anesthesia is generally safe, but it does come with risks of complications, such as breathing or heart problems. These risks increase the longer you’re under anesthesia. Also, longer durations of anesthesia have been associated with increased time spent in the hospital after surgery or having to return to the OR for another procedure.


    The hybrid OR has imaging equipment right there, which can mean fewer delays, and less time under anesthesia. The hybrid OR also lends itself to minimally invasive procedures, which usually means a shorter recovery time and less time spent in the hospital. “Patients are able to get back to work and their daily activities much sooner. It allows you to quickly go back to your regular life,” says Michael Barber, Senior Vice-President, Chief Operating Officer, Chester County Hospital.


    Your surgeon will have more flexibility. Sometimes, surgeries don’t always go quite as planned. During a minimally invasive procedure, it’s possible that the surgeon will realize that they need to perform a more invasive surgery. Or, they may be using one mode of surgery, and decide that they need to switch to a different one. In a traditional OR, this could prove complicated. The surgical team could potentially need to switch you to a different operating room.

    “Everyone on the team surgeons, nurses, technicians, has extensive training and experience and works together to deliver the best care. And we can’t wait to bring those same levels of passion, expertise, and teamwork to the new hybrid ORs.”

    However, the hybrid OR is equipped to easily turn from a minimally invasive to a more invasive operative setting, and from one mode of surgery to another. Your surgeon will be able to update their method right then and there, which is better for the patient. “The hybrid OR gives you the best of both worlds you get high-quality imaging, while also getting the space and visibility of a typical OR,” confirms Mary Kehner, BSN, MS, RN, CNOR, Director, Surgical Services at Chester County Hospital.


    The surgery will be more precise and maybe more successful. One of the more challenging parts of surgery is making sure that patients are in the right position. The hybrid OR comes with a table that can be tilted and inclined to many different positions, allowing the surgeon to maneuver patients into the best position for a specific procedure. The table is connected to imaging equipment. This equipment recognizes and follows the table position, without the surgical team having to do a thing, and captures images of the surgical area from almost any angle.


    This is extremely important. Getting a patient to the perfect position and allowing the surgeon to come in at the right angle, as well as having pictures from all different angles, makes it easier for them to be more precise. And the better the precision, the lower the risk of complications, and greater the likelihood that the surgery will be successful.


    The operating room will be even safer than it already is. When you need surgery, you might be worried about your safety. And that’s perfectly normal. In any type of operating room, safety is the top priority rest assured that no matter which room you’re in, the surgical team is looking out for your safety at all times.


    Advanced technology only goes so far, and that’s why CCH is here. When CCH’s hybrid OR opens in 2020, they will have some of the most modern, advanced equipment in the region. But it’s not just the technology that makes their hybrid OR special. “In every operating room at Chester County Hospital, the surgical team works together seamlessly,” states Barber. “Everyone on the team surgeons, nurses, technicians, has extensive training and experience and works together to deliver the best care. And we can’t wait to bring those same levels of passion, expertise, and teamwork to the new hybrid ORs.”