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New surgical microscope at Akron Children’s Hospital helps surgeons, patients’ success rates

Pediatric surgery teams at Akron Children's Hospital now have use of the Orbeye, an exoscope...
Pediatric surgery teams at Akron Children's Hospital now have use of the Orbeye, an exoscope for micro surgery.(Akron Children's Hospital)
Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 2:12 PM EST
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Patients and doctors have a better shot at successful surgeries, thanks to a new life-saving tool now available at Akron Children’s Hospital.

They were the first independent children’s hospital in the country to bring in cutting edge technology that helps keep surgeons at their best longer. It also reduces risk for patients in the operating room.

Five-year-old Raven Hitchings was the first patient surgeons used it on there.

Her mother, Jamie Mariol, thought they were going to be sent home after an MRI last summer.

“When her neurologist came in, I had a feeling something wasn’t right. He came in and said your daughter has a tumor the size of a golf ball,” she said.

There was a sense of immediacy.

“It was like a deer in headlights type of moment,” she said.

The very next morning Raven was in surgery to remove as much of the brain tumor as they could.

Her surgeon, Dr. Tsulee Chen, a member of the pediatric neurosurgery team at Akron Children’s Hospitals, performed the six hour operation with the aide of a cutting edge new surgical microscope called the Orbeye.

“It’s something called an exoscope where it essentially is a lens that comes in to the operative field. You put on 3D glasses, and then you’re looking at a screen,” she said.

The Orbeye magnifies the details of tissue, blood vessels, and other anatomy at up to 26 times, and replaces the cumbersome eye loupes and headlights typically worn by neurosurgeons to perform microsurgery.

Dr. Chen says everyone in the operating room is able to see in 3D at 4K resolution on a large monitor.

“Because your assistants in the operating room can see exactly what you’re seeing, in 3D, and if you have more than one assistant, then there are three pair of hands working as opposed to one pair of hands,” she said.

Dr. Chen says the Orbeye allows for a more ‘heads up’ or ergonomic positioning in the operating room, and it helps keep surgeons more comfortable and at their best for a longer period of time.

“Because when you take a case like Raven’s which can take four to six hours, as you can imagine, standing in a single position for four to six hours can take a toll on your neck, your back, your shoulders,” said Dr. Chen.

For the hospital it’s an investment in efficiency, and shorter cases mean less the risk for patients.

“They’re not positioned on the operating table as long. And anytime we start talking about 4-6-8 hour cases we worry about pressure points, we worry about padding, lines and all those things. All of that can be modified,” she said.

“They got most of what they could out of there. If they went any further they could cause permanent damage,” said Mariol.

The family has set up a Go Fund Me page to help with Raven’s medical expenses.

The Orbeye can be used for any kind of surgery that required magnification viewing like neurology, hand surgery, ortho surgery, and plastic surgery. Dr. Chen uses it on an average of 5-10 patients per month.

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