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Cutting-Edge Surgery

Japanese surgeons are testing a new tool that gives them a better view. They've used an ultra-high-definition camera during an operation. And they say it could lead to advances in surgery.

Last month, an 8K ultra-high-definition video camera was used in a surgery for the first time anywhere in the world. An endoscope is attached and inserted into the patient's abdomen. Closely watching the monitor, the surgeon removed the patient's gall bladder. This 8K camera creates images with a resolution of 33 mega-pixels -- 16 times more than previous high-definition cameras. Even small capillaries can be seen clearly.

A: "It's so clear, I can see very well."

The surgeon who conducted the procedure says he could even make out the patient's nerves. He sees great potential for use in operations requiring precision surgery, such as removing cancerous growths.

"I could clearly distinguish between the nerves, lymph vessels, and blood vessels. That made the surgery safer and more precise."
Toshiyuki Mori / Professor, Kyorin Univ. Surgery Dept.

The doctor also says the operation went more smoothly than usual. A conventional endoscope camera has to be positioned very close in, but often it can get in the way of the surgical instruments. The new camera does not have to be so close, so there is more room to maneuver. The operation was completed in 45 minutes, as scheduled. This new camera is an experimental prototype. It is 10 times heavier than standard high-definition equipment and the image is darker. Doctors are hoping improvements will allow the camera to be used in even more complex procedures.

"I think eventually 8K technology could be introduced for use across the board, allowing innovations in surgical methods as well as instruments and equipment."
Toshiyuki Mori / Professor, Kyorin Univ. Surgery Dept.

Others in the medical field are looking forward to using the higher definition technology. In October, a robotic endoscopic procedure was approved for use in removing stomach cancer. Wearing special glasses, the whole team could observe the operation in 3D, making it possible to conduct high-precision surgery.

"I'm confident using 3D imaging will enable us to replicate the results of abdominal surgery."
Doctor

Up to now surgeons have used conventional high-definition images. But the arrival of 8K imaging is boosting hopes for advances in surgery techniques.

"The better the image quality, the more beneficial and precise the surgery we can offer our patients. I am confident that innovations in imaging technology will lead to improved medical procedures."
Ichiro Uyama / Professor, Fujita Health Univ. Surgery Dept.

The use of state of the art technology is spreading in Japan. Later this week, a hospital in Nagoya plans to perform eye surgery using an 8K microscope.

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