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Video Over Fiber Gives Surgeons a Clearer Picture

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Beth Stackpole
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Resolution key to surgery success
Beth Stackpole   7/2/2012 8:41:59 AM
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Given that more and more surgical procedures rely on imaging as a key navigational tool, this is a welcome development. Clarity of video and range of sight are instrumental in allowing surgeons to carry out these procedures with specialized instruments instead of a reliance on heavy cutting.

AJ2X
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Re: Resolution key to surgery success
AJ2X   7/3/2012 10:20:34 AM
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I'm surprised at the claims made here.  HD video in surgery typically is routed via digital formats -- HD-SDI or DVI for live video, and ethernet for stored stuff.  With digital video, there is no loss of resolution in the transmission from place to place -- that is a primary reason for using it.  Standard definition video is almost always analog (NTSC and PAL formats being the most common legacy types), and it can suffer some loss of resolution in long distance transmission, or in moving from device to device, if care is not taken.  But high definition video has been a digital format since its adoption, and it delivers full resolution all the time, up until complete loss of signal -- there is no degradation with distance.  While optical transmission has some advantages, and can have a nice high data rate, I see nothing compelling for most ORs in this device.

dbartow
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Iron
Re: Resolution key to surgery success
dbartow   7/3/2012 11:34:01 AM
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AJ2X, if HDMI is being used in these OR video systems, there are issues with tranmission over copper HDMI cables beyond 30m. You are correct in that digital video signals such as HDMI will not have any loss of resoltuion over long distances. However since HDMI is digital, beyond 30m with copper HDMI cables there will be compatability issues with some HDMI equipment leading to complete loss of the video signal. 

There are some HDMI "boosters" that may add another 10m to the effective copper cable length, but optical HDMi cables are the best solution for longer cable lengths. Since there are explosive gases used in ORs, opitical HDMI cables also offer a safer way to transport HD video signals than with copper HDMI cables. 

 

AJ2X
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Silver
Re: Resolution key to surgery success
AJ2X   7/3/2012 12:33:32 PM
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dbarto; You are correct about HDMI having signal-quality degradation over distance in wire, as all signals do without repeaters or equalizers of some sort.  Optical transmission is better at that sort of thing, though it needs repeaters also.  But the claims for this optical device were about resolution improvements, and it cannot deliver that. 

Incidentally, HDMI is not common in laparoscopic camera-aided surgery -- it's mostly HD-SDI in the US and DVI-D in Europe.  And the explosive-gas argument is a non-issue: ORs have long been full of electronic equipment operating at much higher voltages and powers than are present in any video transmission method.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Resolution key to surgery success
Ann R. Thryft   7/3/2012 11:45:57 AM
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Thanks for this, Chuck, this is an exciting development in vision technology. Interesting that the technology comes from Omron; they make a lot more than just imaging equipment.

NadineJ
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Re: Resolution key to surgery success
NadineJ   7/3/2012 12:06:18 PM
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If it gives an exponentially better picture, that's great news for telesurgery too.

Any information about this being used with robotics in remote controlled surgeries?

AJ2X
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Silver
Re: Resolution key to surgery success
AJ2X   7/3/2012 12:40:44 PM
NadineJ -- This device, inserted in a digital video transmission system,  cannot deliver any improvement in video resolution.  The resolution is set by the camera  -- anything added to it can only degrade the resolution or at best maintain it.

Long distance digital video transmission by optical fibers (and other means) is pretty well-established and successful, and has and will work well for telesurgery and robotics.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Re: Resolution key to surgery success
Jack Rupert, PE   7/4/2012 1:31:22 PM
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Is surgical video all wired?  That would seem to be the only application for this device.  Although I assume that going wireless would compound the problem.

AJ2X
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Silver
Re: Resolution key to surgery success
AJ2X   7/5/2012 9:14:15 AM
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Jack Rupert --

Yes, surgeries are pretty much entirely wired.  Hospitals are conservative entities, and adopt new technology like wireless slowly and carefully  -- intereference between devices can mean life or death.  Video particularly is mostly copper based, since any loss of resolution (there's that word again) or time delay between a surgeon's movements and the picture on the monitor is unacceptable, both of which can occur with wireless video as it usually is implemented today. 

Additionally, many (most?) video systems in ORs are on mobile carts, completely independent of any servers or permanently-installed monitors.  A camera, light source, recorder/printer and monitor all reside together in a cart to be moved rapidly from OR to OR as needed.  A single power cable is plugged in, and it's ready to use.  A second, coax video, cable could extend to a built-in video system if wider viewing or monitoring is required.  Very little compelling need for wireless links.

NadineJ
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Re: Resolution key to surgery success
NadineJ   7/4/2012 4:19:53 PM
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AJ2X- I used the word "IF" because I actually read your post I tend to reply to the conversation as a whole unless otherwise specified.

My reply to the article is "If it gives an exponentially better picture, that's great news for telesurgery too."  What's to disagree with?

These conversations/posts go off topic when we start typing before fully reading and comprehending what we're replying to.

It's a good article about Omron's new offering.

AJ2X
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Silver
Re: Resolution key to surgery success
AJ2X   7/5/2012 9:01:30 AM
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NadineJ --

I did note the "if" in your statement, which is a throwaway word here to emphasize the statement about "exponentially better picture".  Nowhere in the article is "exponentially" used, so it looked to me like you were trying to claim even more amazing things for this product.  It looked like a shill comment to me, which I don't think was your intention.

Don't get me wrong -- this irtem from Omron is no doubt a useful device, and I can see places where it might be productively used.  But the claim that "Digital signals typically travelled over copper-based cables, and resolution was lost in the process" is just not accurate.  Technically inaccurate statements and publicity flack do not make a "good article."

NadineJ
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Platinum
Re: Resolution key to surgery success
NadineJ   7/5/2012 12:08:52 PM
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AJ2X - I'm not getting you wrong at all.  I definitely get what you're saying.  It's unfortunate that you've labeled my post a "shill comment".  I prefer positive and respectful.

I stand by my comment that the article is a good one.  What Charles wrote is sound. Many articles here are based on press releases.  Each also gives a little more information to provide a bigger picture and encourage inquisitiveness.  That's a good thing. 

AJ2X
User Rank
Silver
Re: Resolution key to surgery success
AJ2X   7/5/2012 12:22:49 PM
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NadineJ--

Agreed, that many articles here are indeed based on press releases, though I expect (I hope not unreasonably) those press releases to be at least looked at and vetted for technical rigor and not just passed along as fact.

Also agreed, that encouraging innovation and inquistiveness is a Good Thing.  Having one's expectations raised by overenthusiastic and uncritical PR is, however, a waste of valuable engineering time.

We'll just have to disagree on whether this is "good article."

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