Wetzlar, Germany. A surgical microscope from Leica Microsystems with integrated TrueVision 3D technology has been used for the first time in ophthalmic surgery. The operation took place on March 15th 2014 at the Klinikum Frankfurt Höchst, Germany, and was broadcast live at the Frankfurt Retina Meeting, one of the world’s largest congresses on the surgical treatment of vitreoretinal diseases. The meeting was held at the Congress Center in Mainz. The surgery was performed by Prof. Dr. med. Claus Eckardt, Director of the Eye Clinic of the Klinikum Frankfurt Höchst. More than 1200 congress participants watched the retina surgery on several large screens.
The Leica M844 and Leica M822 surgical microscopes equipped with TrueVision 3D technology open up a new dimension in ophthalmology: due to the three-dimensional visualization of the operating field, the surgeon can insert tiny light probes into the eye when performing cataract and retinal surgery. Besides being less invasive, this technique enables the surgeon to observe the operating field on a monitor instead of having to look through eyepieces – in a comfortable, upright posture and with a view of the area surrounding the operating field. Also, for the first time, the assistants and operating team see the same field of view as the surgeon.
The main advantage is the digital amplification of the camera signal on the screen, which enables intraocular structures to be visualized with low-intensity light in a quality that only could be achieved with far higher light exposure through the surgical microscope. This lowers the risk of light-induced retinal damage (“light toxicity”). Most of all, the new technology is a great step forward for minimally invasive retinal surgery, where there is a trend toward miniaturization of instruments and light probes in order to reduce the amount of traumatized tissue. The poor illumination that was a problem with such surgeries can now be easily compensated for with the TrueVision technology.
“The technical development in this field is enabling us to make tremendous progress in retinal surgery,” confirmed Eckardt during the live surgery in Frankfurt. “If someone were to ask me whether we’d all be doing our surgery via monitors in ten years’ time, I’d have to reply: I’m sure we will, in fact some surgeons will be doing it that way in two years at the latest.”
The modular design and the OpenArchitecture™ of Leica Microsystems’ surgical microscopes allow easy upgrades and integration into digital imaging and data systems. TrueVision 3D technology can also be adapted to future surgical guidance applications.