In your grandparents’ time, you could find yourself on the operating table for an « exploratory laparotomy ».

What is this? The concept is simple, and a mechanic operates in the same way. Let’s see: you open the hood and take a look. There you go…

Imagery (X-ray, MRI, CT scan etc) was either non-existent or scarce. So, if the other medical examinations were unsuccessful, patients were dissected to find the reason for their illnesses. The consequences of these surgeries ended up making more damages than illnesses themselves and eventually complicated the understanding of them. What was the way out of this primitive stage? Technology, combined with knowledge.

Today, technology has an even greater impact. It is even in the process of revolutionizing services provided to patients. While gestures themselves are changing, everything around the surgical act is undergoing profound transformations.

In order to have a common language, let’s get back to the basics of the work:

The preoperative phase

The stakes of this stage are multiple and divided into two parts:

preparation of the patient: A good preparation of the patient goes through information. A well-informed patient will be more relaxed and able to better manage the postoperative phase as well as the convalescence. It is also necessary to follow a preoperative patient pathway, planning consultations with the anesthetist, the nurse and the surgeon.

The surgical act

On the surgeon’s side, he/she must decide how he will proceed. Where to open, what to remove or what to put on, where to put it… depending on the pathology, it can be simple or extremely complex. In some cancers, for example, resecting a tumor can be much more complicated than you might think. Where exactly does the tumor stop? You should not cut too wide to preserve as much of the affected organ as possible, but if you don’t remove enough tissue, the risk of recurrence is certain.

The operation

Surgery itself is increasingly assisted by technology. The robotization of certain gestures, as in breast cancer, makes it possible to limit the incision and thus the risk of infection, and to have a more precise gesture which will consequently alter less the adjoining structures. In the same way,The training of surgeons itself is being revolutionized by virtual reality and 3D.

The postoperative phase

The challenge of postoperative care is to ensure the success of the surgery and the patient’s recovery. This implies, among other things, establishing a real follow-up, providing information on the procedure to be followed, especially in case of anomalies, and observing the patient’s treatment if necessary.

Romain’s adventures carry on !

In our previous episode (The Hospital & the Tech: Episode 1 The Emergency Room), we left Romain with the diagnosis of a fracture and nerve damage that needed a surgery. This one will be done as an outpatient: entrance and exit on the same day.

During the preoperative phase, the doctor provides Romain with access to Maela, a platform that helps the patient to organize himself before surgery. There he finds a preoperative checklist so that he doesn’t forget anything on D-day, has access to educational content about his operation that is clear and validated by professionals that he can share with his family and friends, and to a network of connected nurses who can discuss his care with him. Romain feels reassured and well prepared.

The surgeon on his side prepares the operation. Thanks to Visible Patient technology, he can create a 3D image of the patient from his medical imaging. This way, he knows what he will find when he opens and decides in full knowledge how to proceed. Some technologies, such as PrédiSurge, even allow to digitally simulate a surgical procedure. Currently specialized in cardiac prostheses, this allows to predict the effect and efficiency of an aortic prosthesis thanks to a 3D model. Maybe soon, this will exist for all surgeries.

Romain is slowly waking up. The operation went well, and thanks to Maela he can go home with a connected postoperative follow-up. He can give an alert in case of problems and is monitored 24/7 by a network of nurses. The hospital is not to be outdone since it has a chatbot, « MemoQuest » developed by Calmedica, which is programmed to exchange with patients before and after their surgery. Questions created and reviewed by doctors are sent to the patient in the post-operative phase. The answers can trigger further questions and ultimately send alerts to medical teams if necessary.

Thanks to this technological arsenal, Romain’s care pathway is much more complete, adapted and safe. He can go to bed peacefully with his two big cotton wool pads in his nose.

More convenient.