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'technology' posts

Let it snow

Have you been outside enjoying this weekend's snow fall?. Whether or not you were able to play outside, we thought we'd share some new videos in our robotic surgery series that don't require going out in the cold..and might give you inspiration of a craft project to do with your kids.

In Seattle, we can make a snowman:

And not only can our robots (driven by our robotic surgeons)
fold paper airplanes, but they can also make a snowflake:

It may be your first robotic knee surgery...

....but at Swedish, it's definitely not ours.

If you have advanced arthritis in part of your knee, robotic-assisted surgery is a great way to go. The incision is smaller. Recovery time is faster. And the surgery is more accurate for better knee function down the road.

So where should you go? Well, Swedish was the first in the Puget Sound area to perform MAKOplasty for partial knee replacements, and we’ve done more of them than any hospital in the region.

Come learn more from a Swedish orthopedic surgeon at one of our seminars, and take the first step toward a pain-free life. Or, watch the below video to see highlights from a partial knee replacement procedure:

FREE ROBOTIC KNEE SURGERY SEMINAR

Call 206-386-2502 or register online at www.swedish.org/classes
Wednesday, Jan. 18, 6–8 p.m. OR Thursday, Feb. 16, 6–8 p.m.
Swedish Orthopedic Institute 601 Broadway, Seattle
(Corner of Broadway and Cherry St. – Hourly parking available under the building)

Using robotic technology to improve outcomes in myasthenia gravis and thymoma

New technologies have the potential to improve patient outcomes but need to be carefully studied so that patients will maximally benefit.  Robotic thymectomy for myasthenia gravis and thymomas was introduced at Swedish in May of 2009 after careful evaluation of our outcomes with traditional sternotomy and VATS thymectomy.

One of the more challenging aspects of being a surgeon is to understand how new technologies can benefit your patients and how those technologies might become part of your practice. If you’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy, read Time magazine or the Wall Street Journal or surfed the web recently, you’ll be aware of the da Vinci surgical robot. The robot has allowed many different surgical specialties to operate in confined areas of the body with tiny instruments placed through equally small incisions thereby avoiding a larger incision. In thoracic surgery, one of the confined spaces is an area in front of the heart where a gland called the thymus resides.

Most people don’t even realize they have a thymus nor do they know it’s responsible for the development of immunity. However, for a small number of patients the thymus can be source of disease either by generating a tumor called a thymoma or by producing antibodies that block transmission of nerve impulses making the patient fatigue or weaken very quickly which is called myasthenia gravis (MG). Removing the thymus gland (thymectomy) is an important part of the treatment in both diseases.

Traditionally, thymectomy is accomplished ...

Best seats in the house…or in this case, the OR

If you’ve ever wanted to sit in the gallery of Grey’s Anatomy and watch a surgery, we have something for you that’s a little more powerful. On Friday, we invite you to tune in to a livestream of a procedure that changes patients’ lives.

On Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (PST), Drs. Ron Young and Ryder Gwinn, surgeons from the Swedish Neuroscience Institute, will host a livestream on this page to discuss the affects of Essential Tremor (ET), the Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgical procedure used to treat ET and the other innovative treatment options for ET available at Swedish and throughout the country.

ET is a progressive neurological condition that causes a rhythmic trembling of the hands, head, voice, legs or trunk. It is often confused with Parkinson’s disease and is often un-diagnosed.

The livestream will feature a video stream of a recorded DBS surgical procedure performed at Swedish, accompanied by a live web chat led by Drs. Young and Gwinn. The DBS device is like a pacemaker for the brain. During the surgery, a tiny wire is implanted in the area of the brain that controls abnormal movement. This wire modifies the brain’s electrical signals to help control tremors and other abnormal movements.

It gets better

Not only will you have a front seat (from the comfort of home or wherever your mobile device is) to see a life-changing surgical procedure, but you can also ask questions live to our surgeons about the surgery, essential tremor, and any other related questions you may have (like what is Gamma Knife?). And, we’ll have patients who will share their stories about the procedure and how it has changed their lives – for the better.

Tune in on Friday

You can watch the livestream ...

In Real Life

This video has sparked some controversy about exposing babies and young children to technology. Some people think it’s a shame that the baby thinks the magazine is ‘broken’. It seems to me that the baby is just figuring out that the iPad works one way and the magazine works another. She’s trying out her world. She’s testing those Baby Physics again.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated quite clearly that “pediatricians should urge parents to avoid television viewing for children under the age of two years.”  This is to include limiting the time exposure as well as limiting the content to appropriate entertainment (no violence, drugs, alcohol, etc.).

I agree completely that screen time should be limited for our children but it would be nearly impossible to completely restrict all exposure to media.  We just need to harness the technology and use it appropriately.  

Our children are growing up in an age where we can carry the internet in our pockets. They do need to learn their way around a laptop and an iPad.   We get upset if the schools don’t have computer labs or the latest technology. Some schools even issue laptops instead of textbooks because laptops are so inexpensive but can be updated so easily. That’s wonderful. The amount of knowledge at our fingertips is incredible and increasing exponentially everyday.

However, there are serious drawbacks to too much screen time:

Early warning device for heart attacks

The symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person, but what if you had an early warning system that would alert you to go to the hospital before the first sign of trouble? Doctors here at Swedish are testing out a new device they hope could do just that.

In early January 2010 Swedish became the first medical center in western Washington to begin participation in the ALERTS Pivotal U.S. Trial for the AngelMed Guardian implantable cardiac monitor and alert system. The system is designed to reduce the time it takes patients to get to an emergency room during an impending heart attack.

The AngelMed Guardian System ® is designed to track significant changes in the heart’s electrical signal and then alert patients to seek medical attention. The objective of the ALERTS Pivotal Study is to provide an assessment of the safety and effectiveness of the AngelMed Guardian System.

“If the Guardian system proves to be effective in the early detection and warning of potentially life-threatening heart conditions, we may be able to shift the paradigm for early treatment at the onset of heart attacks,” said Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute interventional cardiologist Mark Reisman, M.D., principle investigator for this study at Swedish.

According to the American Heart Association, one of every five deaths in the United States is attributable to coronary heart disease. Further, 50 percent of heart-attack fatalities occur within one hour of symptom onset and occur before the patient even reaches the hospital.

Surgical precision and painted pumpkins

Forget 'will it blend' - you should be asking, can my robot paint a pumpkin? (It can!)

Dr. Kristen Austin, OB/GYN (obstetrics and gynecology) physician at Swedish/Issaquah paints a Jack-O-Lantern on a miniature pumpkin using the da Vinci robot to demonstrate how this device gives surgeons greater surgical precision and dexterity over existing approaches.


If you've been wondering what the setup looks like in the OR, here are a few behind the scenes photo from our video shoot:

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