Packard Children's Opens West Coast's Most Advanced Pediatric Surgery Center

Thursday, January 8, 2009 General News
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PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 7 The surgical lights are on, theoperating-room cameras rolling. Action is under way in the West Coast's mostadvanced pediatric surgery center, at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital atStanford.


The seven new operating rooms, which opened in December, provide thelatest in imaging and communication technologies, allowing surgeons to operatewith unprecedented precision, speed and efficiency. Every detail of the newlyrenovated 35,000-square-foot space, from the admitting desk to the route outof the recovery room, sets new standards in pediatric surgical care. Before,pediatric surgeries for patients at Packard Children's were done in StanfordUniversity's adult hospital.

"There is no other children's hospital on the West Coast in which all theoperating rooms are so state-of-the-art," said Craig Albanese, MD, thedivision chief of pediatric general surgery at Packard Children's. "It's anextraordinary facility which will help us prolong and save the lives of themost seriously ill and injured children. We'll be able to do procedures wecan't even imagine yet."

The Ford Family Surgery Center can accommodate every operation from herniarepair to heart transplantation and is wired to be fully interactive. Manymachines are voice-activated, freeing doctors' and nurses' hands for keytasks. Each room has high-definition monitors which display patients' vitalsigns, medical records, scans and x-ray images directly at the bedside,promoting safer care. Surgical lights contain cameras that can broadcast toother hospital departments, allowing surgeons to videoconference withpathologists and radiologists without leaving the patient. Surgeons will alsobe able to share expert opinions with colleagues in distant locations as theywork.

And the new rooms contain cutting-edge tools for each surgical specialty.For instance, the "BrainLAB" image guidance system in the neurosurgery ORintegrates images from several types of pre-op brain scans into one super-image of the patient's brain. The integrated three-dimensional image guidessurgery with a GPS-like system that tracks each surgical tool in real time anddisplays its location in the brain-image map.

It's hard to overstate the advance this represents for young patients whoneed brain or spinal surgery. "Patients live and die by their scan images,"said Michael Edwards, MD, the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Packard.

For instance, if a brain tumor is located near a region of gray matterthat controls movement, Edwards can pre-plan the operation and then watch hissurgical tools move through images of the patient's motor cortex, obtained ina pre-surgical functional MRI scan and fiber tract map, to ensure he's notcutting a brain region that would cripple the patient. Information from othertypes of scans helps him see exactly where the edges of the tumor lie as heoperates.

"We will be able to perform more complex, higher-risk surgeries withgreater safety," Edwards said.

And, in every operating room, surgical teams now have more room to move.The new ORs average 650 square feet, 150-200 feet larger than the rooms atStanford Hospital. Most equipment is mounted on moveable ceiling booms, whichmeans teams can configure the rooms ergonomically for any operation.

Other new designs lessen the stress of what one family called "thesurgical maze." Patients can now bypass Packard's general admitting and gostraight to a surgery-specific admitting desk. They travel only a few stepsfor anesthesia prep, and then move to a waiting area with toys and child-sizedfurniture, where Child Life specialists use play therapy to prepare childrenfor their surgery experience.

"It's a very kid-friendly environment," said Albanese, "and doesn't seemlike a traditional hospital or OR."

Then patients move to a pre-op holding area, where each bed has a TV andspace for families wait. Each child is assigned a confidential tracking numberduring surgery, and parents can check display screens in the waiting area tosee where their child is in the surgical process. Soon after surgery, parentsjoin their kids in the 12-bed recovery room. The suites are designed to makethe experience of surgery as anxiety-free as possible.

In short, the new facility delivers improvements in every aspect ofpatient care.

"Innovation begets innovation," said Albanese. "We can think more broadly,generate new ideas, and figure out how to make things better for our patients.We're all very excited."

The Ford Family Surgery Center was built with a lead gift from the ThomasW. Ford Family and gifts from HEDCO Foundation, Morgan Family Foundation, TheDavid and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Schow Foundation and The ValleyFoundation.

Take a video tour of the new Ford Family Surgery Center at

About Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

Ranked as one of the nation's top pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & WorldReport, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford is a 272-bed hospitaldevoted to the care of children and expectant mothers. Providing pediatric andobstetric medical and surgical services and associated with the StanfordUniversity School of Medicine, Packard Children's offers patients locally,regionally and nationally the full range of health care programs and services,from preventive and routine care to the diagnosis and treatment of seriousillness and injury. For more information, visit Robert Dicks (650) 497-8364 Todd Kleinheinz (650) 725-9666 tkleinheinz@lpch.or

SOURCE Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

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