Published: 00:01, 03 February 2017
Surgeons donned 3D glasses as a Kent hospital became only second in country to perform ground-breaking surgery.
Laparoscopic procedures, better known as keyhole surgeries, can now be performed at Darent Valley using images rendered in three dimensions, giving surgeons an incredible sense of depth as they operate.
Much like watching a film, they have to wear 3D glasses to get the effect, but it allows them to see far more than traditional 2D images.
The new 3D-capable operating theatre has been installed in place of the hospital’s once state-of-the-art Storz Operating Room of the Future, which was the first of its kind in the UK when it was opened in 2004.
Darent Valley is only the second hospital in the country to get the new theatre, with its first 3D-enabled surgery taking place on January 10.
Rakesh Bhardwaj, a consultant and surgeon at the hospital, said: “Having this state-of-the-art laparoscopic theatre puts Darent Valley firmly at forefront of surgical advances.
“It is particularly beneficial to patients and very exciting for surgeons in training.”
Two-dimensional surgery isn’t being abandoned though, with images produced during the procedures recorded in 2D and 3D simultaneously, allowing surgeons to use either format to carefully review each step of any case.
Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust is one of a handful nationwide to provide such a specialist valve clinic, which performs scans to identify how well the valves of the heart are working and highlights any abnormal cardiac conditions.
Mr Patterson, of Park Road in Gravesend, previously had to travel all the way to either Guy’s Hospital or St Thomas’ Hospital, both in London, to be treated in this kind of clinic.
Principal cardiac physiologist Pauline Cherek said: “This is going to be a much better service for the local community and save them the stress and aggravation of travelling to London, especially our older patients.
“The new service will give my workforce better professional development on top of what they already do routinely in the Heart Centre.”
Valve disease is a common cause of breathlessness and can affect people of all ages, but especially those over 65.
Undetected valve disease can lead to premature death, but early detection and valve surgery saves lives.
Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust are one of NHS England’s chosen Vanguard sites, which allows them to collaborate and share information more effectively.