Hybrid operating rooms (ORs) have been part of medical discourse since 2010 but are gaining traction as technology advances and laparoscopic surgeries increase in popularity. These comprehensive surgical theaters are optimal for complex procedures that would otherwise require patients to undergo multiple distinct surgeries under anesthesia.
What is a hybrid operating room?
Technically speaking, hybrid ORs are surgical theaters equipped with medical imaging devices that enable minimally-invasive surgeries. The imaging devices allow surgeons to perform surgical procedures through a series of small incisions in addition to “open” procedures by enabling the visualization of miniscule body parts such as blood vessels. Some of the most popular imaging devices used in hybrid ORs include fixed and mobile C-Arms, CT and MRI scanners, and intraoperative 3D imaging machines.
In combining imaging technology with traditional surgical devices, including surgical booms and other instruments, hybrid ORs allow surgeons to work in the most efficient manner to achieve the best possible outcome. Medical professionals working in hybrid ORs are also diversified, and include surgeons, imaging professionals, and other specialists to ensure even complicated patient needs are met.
Why use hybrid operating rooms?
In a hybrid OR, surgeons can perform both open and laparoscopic procedures in the same visit, which keeps patients from undergoing multiple procedures under anesthesia and reducing risks. If complications arise during a laparoscopic surgery, hybrid ORs provide the devices and personnel needed to transition to an open procedure with minimal risk to the patient. Patient safety is one of the primary benefits of a hybrid OR. Many patients see shorter recovery times after undergoing a procedure in a hybrid OR, as they only recuperate from a single surgery. This also leads to shorter lengths of stay, and lower utilization of patient management resources.
Hybrid ORs are also more cost-effective than traditional surgical suites, as imaging and surgical equipment are all in one place rather than in separate rooms. This improves the efficiency of surgical staff by eliminating the need to move patients to troubleshoot issues as well as through the consolidation of procedures. By streamlining the surgical process and improving patient outcomes, hybrid ORs can decrease costs for entire care facilities.
Though they come with clear benefits, hybrid ORs do not come cheap. Investing in a modern surgical suite like this can cost upward of $5 million. The construction of the room itself – with stainless steel walls, antimicrobial flooring, and facility renovation costs – runs about $2 million. This does not include the appropriate OR equipment, such as video monitors, imaging devices, and other integration systems, or the training for a consolidated surgical team.
Because hybrid ORs are so expensive to implement, it is essential that a facility have a concrete plan in place for the most effective use of these suites. This includes gathering input from various vascular, neurovascular, cardiothoracic, radiology, nursing, and other specialists to ensure proper demand and use of the new capabilities.
Fig 1 Data from Definitive Healthcare’s all-payor claims analytics platform from CY 2018.
Most common hybrid OR uses
Many procedures best suited for hybrid ORs are for the treatment of cardiovascular issues like congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease, and heart rhythm defects. Procedures such as revascularization, transcatheter valve replacement or repair, and stent graft placement are all well-suited to a hybrid environment. However, hybrid ORs can also be effectively used for traumatic injuries in orthopedic and emergency care.
Orthopedic trauma, including complex fractures, require precise placement of surgical implants, screws, and other devices to encourage the fastest-possible recovery and avoid joint malposition and nerve damage. Similarly, emergency care can be effectively administered in a hybrid OR, as surgeons can perform both open and endovascular procedures to stem severe bleeding and reduce mortality rates.
Looking to learn more about inpatient procedures? Definitive Healthcare tracks diagnosis and procedure analytics from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and from private payors, with data refreshing every 30 days.