Strong Memorial Hospital Unveils Preeminent Operating Rooms

May 09, 2003

Strong Memorial Hospital celebrates the opening of a new operating room suite today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. The $8.5 million project adds 12 new operating rooms to the hospital's existing surgical center.

The innovative facility, located below the new Frank and Caroline Gannett Emergency Center and adjacent to the current ORs, brings together an outstanding medical staff, state of the art equipment and more space, creating a facility that is one-of-a-kind in Upstate New York.

"We are thrilled to open this new surgical suite, a project that furthers the University of Rochester Medical Center's mission to provide the finest clinical care to all patients, enhance research possibilities and offer educational experiences to the medical community," says Jay H. Stein, M.D., CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center and Strong Health.

The 12 operating rooms will be used in conjunction with 15 existing rooms - for a total of 27.

Increasing numbers of patients and a need to accommodate larger, leading-edge pieces of equipment made this project essential, says Arthur S. Hengerer, M.D., F.A.C.S., acting chief of the Department of Surgery and chair of the Division of Otolaryngology. The development of the OR plan took into account the specific needs of Strong Memorial's surgical services, resulting in rooms that enhance the ability of medical personnel to provide outstanding care for patients.

"We now have 12 brand-new, state-of-the-art operating rooms that truly cater to the specialty surgical services we offer the region and Upstate New York, including general surgery, transplantation, orthopaedics, trauma, vascular, cardiac and neurosurgery," he says.

When developing the new ORs, designs evolved from the operating room plans of the 1970s, which involved visible wires and smaller facilities. The new space is larger, with overhead equipment and hidden wires, which will be valuable now and in the future.

"This project gave us the opportunity to think ahead 20 years or more, planning for new technologies and treatment options that are down the road," Hengerer says.

The new rooms are each 800 square feet, 75 percent larger than the current rooms and 25 percent larger than the norm.

Each is equipped with flat-panel video displays, which allow surgical teams to view X-ray images delivered electronically from a different part of the hospital instead of relying on the delivery of actual X-rays traditionally viewed on an OR light board. The flat screens also give surgeons the ability to communicate in real time via the Internet with other doctors within Strong Memorial and beyond, to discuss procedures being performed or to facilitate teaching to other medical personnel and students. The creation of this innovative learning lab has the capability of furthering the telemedicine initiative and eventually incorporating surgical robotics.

Two rooms are devoted to heart bypass and heart transplantation procedures, and two ORs are designated for live-donor liver and kidney transplantation.

A vascular surgical room is enclosed by several-inch-thick lead walls that house the newest in digital X-ray equipment, some of which is located below the patient and can be used to image from a very different angle than was possible in the past.

Orthopaedic rooms are fitted with a laminar flow air-handling system that controls the movement of air and reduces the risk of infection. Additionally, a state-of-the-art trauma bay is located directly across from private emergency elevators that lead up to the Emergency Department, as well as to the roof-top helipad.

The $8.5 million project consisted of $5 million for construction and $3.5 million for medical equipment.

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Karin Christensen
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