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Surgeons often crane their necks during back surgery. A new machine stops that, and makes surgery safer

At Good Samaritan Hospital Mayfield Clinic surgeons look at the Pulse platform for imaging, hardware positioning, electrical stimulation and more.
Mayfield Clinic
At Good Samaritan Hospital, Mayfield Clinic surgeons and operating room staff look at the Pulse platform for imaging, hardware positioning, electrical stimulation and more.

On Sept. 20, Cincinnati surgeons were the first to use the Pulse platform in the U.S.

There’s no shortage of technology in the operating room, but surgeons complain the computer software isn’t integrated and doctors must crane their necks as they scan the room for important information.

So Mayfield Clinic spine surgeons were thrilled when NuVasive developed the Pulse® surgical platform. It combines monitors, GPS tracking devices, 3-D images, rod placement guidance and more in a six-foot stand.

On Monday, Sept. 20, at Good Samaritan Hospital, Mayfield neurosurgeons Michael Kachmann and Zachary Tempel became the first in the U.S. to use the Pulse®.

Tempel called it “a very sophisticated smartphone for the operating room.” Here's a video of how it works.

“What the Pulse® is doing is really bringing all these pieces into one area so we have one place to look instead of looking at five different things,” says Kachmann. “It cuts down on the number of people in the operating room which cuts down on infections. It allows us to look in one spot instead of careening our neck.”

But because there is a steep learning curve for this technology and others, Kachmann says most U.S. spine surgeons do it the old-fashioned way with x-ray and dissection. He says that doesn’t lend itself to minimally invasive outpatient surgery.

Tempel says it’s all about efficiency. “It’s one of the first key steps that can determine a patient’s outcome and limit complication. So, by improving operative efficiency you’re making it easier for the rest of the team to do their jobs.”

Tri-Health says it will also get a Pulse® for Bethesda North Hospital. Because the technology is so new, doctors from around the country will be coming to train with Tempel and Kachmann.

Kachmann says even though the Pulse® is just being used for spine surgery, he doesn’t see a reason why orthopedic surgeons couldn’t use it.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.