INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — Franciscan Health Indianapolis recently was the setting for a cardiothoracic procedure with first in the world use of the innovative WalterLorenz™ Surgical Assist Arm from Zimmer Biomet.
The arm is a bionic, electromechanical arm providing secure tissue retraction and surgical site optimization. This simple, yet sophisticated technology optimizes site exposure, reduces surgery staff fatigue, and improves efficiency in the operating room.
This collaborative digital assistant is part of Zimmer Biomet’s new Surgery Assisting Technology Platform – a set of integrated technologies and services designed to help hospitals reach their goals of improved care delivery, efficiency, effectiveness and outcomes.
Having been a member of the team working in the lab to perfect the WalterLorenz digital assistant, I looked forward to the first case,” said Marc Gerdisch, MD, chief of cardiovascularand thoracic surgery and co-director of the Heart Valve Center. “I am pleased to have performed the first surgery using Walter to assist and found the device incredibly responsive and nimble. We have since performed many complex cardiac operations with Walter at the table, including minimally invasive procedures, where Walter has served exceptionally. We expect the addition of the WalterLorenz Surgical Assist Arm to enhance the efficiency of our surgical procedures ensuring our hospital continues as a leading center of excellence.”
Dr. Gerdisch continued: “The first case performed with the WalterLorenz Surgical Assist Arm was a complex procedure. It was the patient’s second major heart operation and involved surgery on three cardiac valves and a procedure to eliminate atrial fibrillation. The patient recovered beautifully. Yesterday, a patient who traveled from Idaho underwent a minimally invasive valve reoperation also including treatment of atrial fibrillation, and Walter was used to create excellent exposure. The patient is up out of bed and feeling well this morning. These are just two of the many operations we have performed with enhanced exposure contributed by the WalterLorenz Surgical Assist Arm.”
Dr. Gerdisch, a member of Cardiac Surgery Associates, understands that every surgery is an important and serious event for patients and their families. The WalterLorenz Arm helps Dr. Gerdisch and his team with the important tasks of tissue retraction and instrument positioning. In addition the arm helps optimize workflow, enhancing the patient experience.
This isn’t the first innovation Dr. Gerdisch and his team have pioneered at Franciscan Health. One of his most recent projects involved a procedure called the HAART Aortic Annuloplasty. The operation used a fabric-covered frame — about the diameter of your index finger — that strengthens the internal structure of the aortic heart valve.
In recent years, Dr. Gerdisch became the first in the world to implant a tissue-engineered regenerative CorMatrix ECM Tricuspid Valve in a phase I clinical device trial. He was also the first in the United States to enroll a patient in a landmark study, performing minimally invasive procedure to prevent strokes.
(1) The WalterLorenz™ Surgical Assist Arm is a bionic, electromechanical arm providing secure tissue retraction and optimizes site exposure, reduces surgery staff fatigue, and improves efficiency in the operating room. Photo provided by Zimmer Biomet
(2) Dr. Marc Gerdisch and his team at Franciscan Health Heart Center were the first in the world to use the bionic device. The case involved a complex valve repair procedure.
By Joe Stuteville
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