On the Cutting Edge of Medical Innovation

by Shelli Dankoff
OSF HealthCare

Bringing the latest in medical technology to central Illinois…

Innovation is defined as a new idea, method, device or process. It is something from which The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis have never shied away in nearly 139 years of providing healthcare to central Illinois.

Downstate Innovations
In 1985, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center introduced the lithotripter, a nonsurgical way of dissolving kidney stones. It was the first of its kind in the state. There have been many more innovations at OSF in the 30 years since—many of them making their first appearance downstate, and sometimes even in all of Illinois.

The latest is a new Intraoperative MRI operating suite, which will see its first patient this month. It is the first one in central Illinois and only the second in the state. The iMRI allows surgeons to image a patient while in the operating room, a particularly important innovation for patients with brain cancer, as it allows a surgeon to “see” if all the cancer has been removed before leaving the OR.

Dr. Andrew Tsung, director of the Brain Tumor Center at the Illinois Neurological Institute, trained with iMRI technology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and he is excited to have this new technology in Peoria. “The iMRI represents a significant advancement in the treatment of brain cancer,” he explains. “It will allow us to see cancer in a way that nobody else can, which in turn will lead to better removal at the time of surgery and ultimately better survival and improved quality of life.”

A New da Vinci
In addition, OSF Saint Francis continues to be a leader in minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery, a process it began in 2002 with the installation of its first surgical robot. In mid-2015, OSF added a third da Vinci Surgical System to expand patient access and further support the trend toward using minimally invasive procedures—versus open surgery or laparoscopy—when possible. Patients experience less pain, decreased risk of infection, less scarring, shorter hospital stays and recovery time, and a faster return to normal daily activities.

OSF Saint Francis is the first Robotic General Surgery Epicenter in Illinois, and second in the nation, acting as a training ground for surgeons across the country to observe and train in robotic surgery. The latest technology—another first for downstate—is the da Vinci Xi Surgical System, which is especially designed for multi-quadrant surgeries in the areas of gynecology, urology, thoracic, cardiac and general surgery. As with all da Vinci surgical systems, the surgeon is in full control of the robotic-assisted device, which translates his/her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body. The Xi System’s 3D-HD vision gives surgeons a highly magnified view, virtually extending their eyes and hands into the patient.

Continuing Advances
Dr. David Crawford, director of robotic surgery at OSF Saint Francis, is enthusiastic about the new da Vinci Xi. “The new system has a greater range of motion in the working arms; this allows us to do more complex operations from a single position or ‘docking’ of the robot,” he notes. “Where we used to have to stop and reposition, we can just keep working, thus saving time, which means less anesthetic for the patient. The new system has also allowed us to approach incisional/scar hernias robotically, where we were more limited before.”

The Xi will soon pair with another innovation on the horizon, according to Dr. Crawford. “The new robot will be able to work with a new OR table coming out this year. You will be able to change table positions to allow more complex surgery, and the robot can move along with it.” Ultimately, the latest medical innovations are brought to Peoria in the interest of doing what’s best for patients. The Sisters would have it no other way. iBi

Shelli Dankoff is media relations coordinator for OSF HealthCare.

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