Coliseum Health System
July 18, 2016

Coliseum Medical Centers' patients needing plastic and reconstructive surgeries may now benefit from an innovative imaging technology called the SPY Elite Fluorescence Imaging System. The use of SPY Elite may help surgeons to make critical decisions during surgery based on the quality of blood flow in vessels and micro vessels that provide oxygen to organs. 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 may assist surgeons in achieving lower rates of postoperative complications and improved surgical outcomes. Coliseum Medical Centers is the first hospital in Middle Georgia to implement this advancement in surgery.

Traditionally, surgeons 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 intraoperatively may assist surgeons in many clinical decisions including where to make an incision and/ or how much tissue to remove during an operation. Surgeons at Coliseum Medical Centers will utilize SPY Elite to see beyond what the human eye can see which will enhance their clinical judgement and help them optimize patient outcomes.

SPY Elite 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 even the tiniest of 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 of poor perfusion, surgeons can make certain decisions or take action while the patient is still in the operating room, which may reduce the need for additional surgery. Unlike traditional X-ray, which can be cumbersome to perform in surgery, the SPY Elite technology does not involve ionizing radiation and is considered extremely safe for both patients and staff.

A. Keith Martin, MD, Chief of Surgery at Coliseum Medical Centers, was the first surgeon to use this equipment. He said, “As technology advances, it’s important for surgeons to utilize the equipment for the benefit of the patient. This real-time visualization of blood flow will aid in many surgical procedures and potentially improve the healing process.”

SPY Fluorescence technology was the first fluorescence imaging system cleared by the United States Food and Drug Administration and today is cleared for use in seven different applications including coronary artery bypass graft surgery, plastic, reconstructive and microsurgery, 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.