MUHC unveils advanced operating room suite for minimally invasive surgery


Surgeons at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) will treat patients in a new suite of three operating rooms at the Montreal General Hospital site starting this week. The three new operating rooms are designed for state-of-the-art minimally invasive surgery and put the MUHC at the forefront of this advanced surgery in North America.

"Minimally invasive surgery allows surgeons to operate on patients without the large painful scars that regular surgery can cause," says Dr. Gerald Fried, Steinberg-Bernstein Chair, Minimally Invasive Surgery and Innovation at the MUHC. "Thanks to these new operating rooms, we have the perfect environment within which to conduct this high-tech surgery."

"This project is a first major step in redeveloping the Montreal General Hospital as the Mountain Campus of the new MUHC," says Dr. Arthur T. Porter, Director General and CEO of the MUHC. "It reflects our goal of providing the very best health care to our patients using the latest advances in medical knowledge and technology."

He noted that the MUHC is currently working on a master plan to systematically redevelop the entire campus. This work will be carried on simultaneously with the construction of new facilities at the Glen Campus.

Improvements for patients and surgical personnel
"Minimally invasive surgery is equipment intensive," says Dr. Fried. "The old ORs were simply not designed for this high-tech form of surgery and our electrical capabilities were pushed to the limit."

"The new ORs are also a major step forward ergonomically," says surgical nurse Donna Stanbridge, Assistant Head Nurse of the Operating Room at the MUHC. "Studies have shown that these new surgical suites increase efficiency." Much of the surgical equipment is ceiling mounted, clearing the floor of potentially hazardous electrical cables and providing more room to work.

"Previously, this high-tech equipment was stored outside, and wheeled into the ORs as needed," Stanbridge noted. "This process was inefficient and made it harder to ensure sterility of the surgical equipment and environment."

"These operating rooms will provide an opportunity to explore the latest advances in operating room design to better plan the new operating room environment for the MUHC of the future," says Dr. Fried.

Key features of the new ORs:

  • High-definition plasma monitors to view the surgery, with multiple split screen capability so surgeons can monitor several camera angles, digital x-rays, and patient vital signs simultaneously
  • Rooms are more than 50% larger than the old ORs (new ORs — 625 sq ft; old ORs — 400 sq ft)
  • Adjacent preparation and recovery rooms for patients
  • Internet-linked equipment, so that troubleshooting can be conducted directly by the manufacturer
  • State-of-the-art voice-activated surgical equipment and cameras
  • International video conferencing capability during surgery, to enhance the teaching environment, and to allow MUHC experts to consult with physicians elsewhere
  • Central control station where head nurse can oversee and adjust surgical equipment settings, control lighting and route images to the screens, among other details

The new operating suite was constructed and equipped thanks to the generosity of donors to the Montreal General Hospital Foundation as well as gifts from the Cedar Cancer Institute and the McConnell Foundation. The total cost of the project was $7.8M. "We are deeply indebted to the community for their support," said Dr. Porter.

The new ORs were developed and installed by Karl Storz Endoscopy-America, Inc., a pioneer of minimally invasive surgery technology. From inception to finish, a team of Karl Storz design engineers worked closely with MUHC executive management and surgeons to design and implement the integrated surgical suite.

Contact Information

Ian Popple
MUHC Public Relations and Communications
ian.popple [at]
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