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News & Announcements

Northeast Baptist Hospital Adds Innovative SPY Technology

Dec 10, 2018

Major Advancement Allows Surgeons to Visualize Blood Flow During Surgery

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - Northeast Baptist Hospital is adding new surgical “SPY” imaging technology that may benefit patients undergoing plastic and breast reconstruction, colorectal and cardiac surgeries. The use of Spy technology helps surgeons to make decisions during open surgery based on the quality of blood flow in vessels and micro vessels that provide oxygen to organs.1 Most often called tissue perfusion or simply perfusion, adequate blood flow is critical to tissue health and the ability to visualize blood flow in real-time that may assist surgeons in achieving lower rates of postoperative complications and improved surgical outcomes. Northeast Baptist Hospital is one of the first hospitals in the area to implement this advancement in surgery.

Traditionally, surgeons have relied solely on their clinical judgment to determine whether or not tissue was receiving adequate perfusion to remain viable or healthy. The ability to visualize perfusion during surgery may assist surgeons in many clinical decisions including whether to go direct-to-implant or how much tissue to remove during an operation.

“SPY will help us see beyond what the human eye can see, which will enhance our clinical decision process and help optimize patient outcomes”, said colorectal surgeon Seema Izfar, MD.

SPY uses a near-infrared low powered laser light source to stimulate a fluorescent imaging agent that has been injected into the blood stream. The fluorescent agent binds to the proteins in blood and circulates through the body. When stimulated by light, the agent emits a fluorescence signal of blood flowing through vessels and into tissue. The fluorescence is captured by a special camera and is displayed on a video monitor for the surgeon to review. Since the agent is bound to blood, where blood goes, it goes. If there is no fluorescence, it can mean that there is compromised blood flow.

“In situations where we see poor perfusion, we can make certain decisions or take action while the patient is still in the operating room,” said colorectal surgeon John Winston, MD. “This may reduce the need for additional surgery.”

Unlike traditional X-ray, which can be cumbersome to perform in surgery, SPY technology does not involve ionizing radiation and utilizes a non-nephrotoxic fluorescence imaging agent with a short half-life thus allowing surgeons to repeat perfusion assessment numerous times throughout the procedure.

SPY Fluorescence technology is cleared for use in seven different applications including coronary artery bypass graft surgery, plastic, reconstructive and micro-surgery, colorectal surgery, organ transplant, cardiovascular and minimally invasive surgery. SPY Technology is available in different embodiments that meet the specific needs of surgeons performing a variety of open and minimally invasive surgical procedures.