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Lehigh Valley Health Network Is One of Three Institutions in World to Use IRIS Technology for 3D Imaging of a Patient’s Anatomy


Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence has added to its suite of da Vinci surgical system technologies with the leading-edge IRIS system. This innovative technology provides vivid 3D imaging of a patient’s anatomy to support pre-surgical planning, patient education and increased surgical accuracy.

Located at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest, IRIS will be used for patients seeking a partial nephrectomy (kidney surgery to remove diseased tissue). The images produced by IRIS clearly define tumors, blood vessels, arteries and veins using color coding – a stark difference from the typical black and white CT (computed tomography) scan.

“The goal of a partial nephrectomy is to take out the tumor and leave as much normal kidney as possible,” says Angelo Baccala, MD, Chief of Urology at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). “This technology allows us to see the exact location of the tumor and save as much tissue as possible, reducing patients’ risk of complications post-surgery.”

Surgical precision is not the only way IRIS helps reduce complications. During surgery, the blood supply to the kidneys is “clamped,” allowing surgeons to perform the procedure with minimal blood loss. However, it’s important to minimize “clamp time” as much as possible. Like all organs, kidneys rely on blood supply to thrive. Thanks to IRIS, the average “clamp time” is cut significantly. Throughout the procedure, surgeons can refer to updated 3D imaging to track progress and determine next steps.

“With the largest most advanced robotics program in the region, Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence continues to invest in the latest technologies to ensure our community receives the very best care,” says Michael Pasquale, MD, Physician in Chief, Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence. “We are proud to be the first in Pennsylvania and the third in the world to utilize the IRIS platform.”

Patients are also more empowered. When surgeons share the colorful imaging with patients prior to the surgery, patients are able to better visualize their anatomy and gain a greater understanding of their upcoming procedure.

IRIS connects to the da Vinci robotic surgery system. LVHN has 11 robots, including the only da Vinci SP® single port robotic surgery system in the region. With more than 50 surgeons trained in robotic procedures across 11 service lines, more patients are able to get in and out of surgery with fewer incisions, fewer scars and quickly return to normal activity.

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