The challenges of video recording in open abdominal surgery are:

  • Camera placement that avoids obstruction by heads and hands
  • Small camera size to avoid interference with the surgery
  • High definition video to capture fine details of the anatomy
  • Control of zoom, focus and exposure during the case

The camera

The Sony HXR-MC1 Point of View camera is uniquely suited to this task since it:

  • Is small (1.5 x 1.75 x 3.5 inches)
  • Records 2 hours of high definition video on each 16 GB memory card allowing a 10-hour procedure to be recorded on 5 cards.
  • Has a 9 foot cable to a controller.

The Sony HXR-MC1 Point of View camera.

Camera placement

If the camera is placed close to the sterile field, it must be enclosed in a sterile cover.

  • A team in the Surgical Support Group of the Department of Medical Engineering, including Maciej Bauer, Greg Lesick, Nektor Stathakos, and Lucjan Polubiec led by Firat Murat, developed a special mount for the camera that allows a sterile endoscope window to be aligned with the camera lens, with endoscope sleeve covering the camera mount and cable.
  • One camera is mounted on Thompson flexible arm which is attached to the OR table.
  • A second camera is mounted on an overhead boom, allowing two points of view of the surgery minimizing the chance of obstruction.

Overhead camera in place. A decomissioned surgical camera boom (top right) is used to attach our camera.

camera in use 1

Infield camera mounted on Thompson flexible arm, which is attached to the OR table.

Camera controller

The camera controllers are mounted on a cart:

  • allows the videographer to adjust the zoom (X10 optical), focus and exposure away from the sterile field.
  • The HD video outputs of the controllers are split to be displayed:
    1. on a miniature screen to facilitate the precise adjustment of focus
    2. on two overhead video monitors allowing the surgeon to see what each camera is recording

Cart with camera controllers and miniature HD video display

Adjusting the camera view

The surgeons or the scrub nurse can adjust the camera positions to record the best images during the case.

camera in use 3

At the surgeon's viewpoint, monitors are set up to reflect the surgical camera views (behind overhead camera). The surgeon or scrub nurse can then adjust the camera accordingly.