Minimally invasive surgery in Waterfall House

Birmingham Children’s Hospital chooses the latest technology for Waterfall House theatres to improve surgery and patient care.

A surgeon posing in one of our new theatres

With our new facility ‘Waterfall House’, we have invested in state of the art, minimally invasive facilities (the KARL STORZ OR1™ MINI) for our three new operating theatres. Minimally invasive or ‘keyhole’ surgery means using cameras and microscopes to allow the same high-quality surgery to be performed inside the body but with the smallest possible incisions on the outside – it includes laparoscopy, thoracoscopy and endoscopy. 

How this improves patient care 

This new technology means our paediatric surgeons can perform laparoscopic or thoracoscopic operations whilst also viewing images from endoscopy and image intensifiers (X-rays) to guide their surgery more accurately. Likewise, surgeons from ENT and ophthalmology can connect bronchoscopes, ultrasound machines or microscopes to the system to get different views at the same time. In addition, our ENT surgeons are also using the latest 3D camera technology combined with high definition spectacles to do microscopic surgery in the depths of the ear.  And yet despite the complexity of the engineering, all of this functionality is linked together so it can be controlled easily in a user-friendly way via a tablet.

Improved workspace

Image of our new theatres

These theatres have been designed with ceiling-mounted monitors resulting in a clutter-free working space that allows the surgeons and theatre nurses to operate in the safest and most ergonomic way possible.  An important aspect of the integrated theatre is that all members of the theatre team can watch the intricacies of the surgery on huge, high-definition monitors, so that they can take a more active part in the operation.  The increase in staff engagement and ergonomic comfort of the working environment leas to a reduction in problems such as backache and neck strain.  Consequently, both staff satisfaction and the safety of surgery are enhanced.   Recorded images from any connected device can easily be saved to our hospital image database as a record to help with on-going treatment. 

Together with our existing laparoscopic suite, this makes BCH one of the only children’s surgical centres in the UK with the latest laparoscopic facilities in all of our operating theatres. Waterfall House has been specifically designed for day-case and short-stay patients allowing us to push the boundaries of minimally invasive surgery in babies and children. This technology helps us to significantly reduce the length of hospital stay for our patients.

Benefits of minimally invasive surgery

In the end, the reason for all this investment is to bring the benefits of the latest technology to the children we treat, resulting in high-quality surgery with minimal scars and the highest safety standards.  Smaller scars also mean less pain afterwards so they start feeding and return to normal activity much quicker – for some of our common procedures, like gastrostomy insertion, this means that patients now go home in less than 24 hours compared to the 3 days they used to have to stay in hospital. 

We all know that the best bed is your own bed, so being able to offer the latest minimally invasive facilities at Birmingham Children’s Hospital means we can help you get home, and back to full activity, as soon as possible.