Infant first to undergo minimally invasive neurosurgery with Viking system

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Viking Systems Inc., provider of laparoscopic vision systems for use in minimally invasive surgical procedures, announced that a 3-1/2-month-old infant named Jake Joye has become the first patient to undergo a minimally invasive surgical procedure at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, Calif. The Viking 3Di Vision System was used to perform the delicate procedure on the infant to correct a condition known as craniosynostosis.

The condition occurs at birth when the open areas that separate the bone plates in the skull become fused. Craniosynostosis can result in abnormal skull growth, changing the shape of the skull and leading to vision problems, developmental delays and brain damage.

This new version of the procedure performed with Viking's 3Di Vision System requires a small incision in the patient's scalp as opposed to the usual ear-to-ear incision made across the top of the head. The 3Di endoscope is then inserted into the incision, delivering a magnified, high-resolution, 3D image that allows surgeons to visualize the underlying anatomy. The live images are viewed by the surgeons via Viking's Personal Head Display. The display, which resembles the visor worn in virtual reality video games, places the images directly before the surgeons’ eyes.

The chief of pediatric neurosurgery section at the hospital, Hal Meltzer, MD, emphasized the importance of the high-resolution image provided by the Viking System in baby Jake's case. "We needed to visualize the area under the skull bones to be certain there was no leakage of brain fluid or any abnormal bleeding from the brain," he said. "We had to see that area absolutely perfectly."

Stephen M. Heniges, senior vice-president of global marketing and clinical development, Viking Systems, said that "compared to standard 2D visualization tools, the Viking System provides a more natural, clearer view similar to one obtained in conventional open procedures. "Since the images are delivered within the surgeon's natural line of sight, an immersive surgical environment is created. The Personal Head Display allows the surgeon to focus directly on the surgical field and helps to reduce the fatigue associated with turning or moving to view a standard monitor."

3D vision also allows spatial relationships to be maintained, so the surgeon's hand-to-eye coordination is not sacrificed. The company believes this helps surgeons perform more confidently and naturally aids in the reduction of procedure times.

The Viking 3Di Vision System can be used in any laparoscopic MIS procedure to live 3D images to the surgical team. Through the 3Di Vision System, the surgical team can also have access to Viking's Infomatix System which provides on-demand access to other clinical images and relevant, real-time patient and procedural information directly into the surgeon's field-of-view.