Houston doctors performing fibroid surgeries in 3-D

3-D images give clear view of what, where to cut in procedure

HOUSTON – Women suffering from painful fibroids now have a new way to get relief. Houston doctors are now performing fibroid surgeries in 3-D, which allows them to be more precise and helps patients recover faster.

New technology in operating rooms has surgeons looking through glasses that are no more advanced than what you get at a local IMAX, but the 3-D images they produce give them a clear view of what and where to cut in the procedure. It means surgeons can remove painful fibroids more precisely and perform hysterectomies that are less invasive.

"In my experience, using the 3-D camera with the imaging, it's like watching standard television versus HD television. So, the images are much sharper," said Dr. Core La, of West Houston Medical Center. "It allows me to more precisely identify the structure I need to operate on and it makes surgery go a lot more smoothly."

West Houston Medical Center is one of the first hospitals in the region to use the Endoeye Flex 3D. In addition to the third dimension, this rotating videoscope provides depth perception and 100 degrees of view inside the patient -- that's more elaborate than traditional 2-D systems with static cameras.

"We're really limited on space doing it through one incision, so it takes a little bit of time to learn how to do it. But really, with the new technology, it's helped a lot," La said.

La said the next generation of doctors are going to be even better at this because it's similar to a video game.

"It allows me to operate faster and allows me to be extremely precise in how the blood vessels and the tissue we need to get. It decreases the risk to the patient," La said.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Olympus to produce the scope in 2013 and labeled the device a "moderate level of concern." That means a flaw could lead to minor injury, but there's no major problems anticipated.

La told Channel 2 during this hysterectomy that the new technology actually improves the outcome for patients.

"It allows me to more precisely identify the structure I need to operate on, and it makes surgery go a lot more smoothly," La said.

The FDA approved the 3-D scope to be used in abdominal or female reproductive surgeries. It has not been approved for any other laparoscopic procedures.