“Challenges in Development of Mobile X-ray Systems for Improving Minimally Invasive Surgery”

Larry Anderton – Chief Engineer, and Jon Lea – Advanced Technology and Research Manager

GE Healthcare

When: Monday, January 27, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.
Where: Warnock 1230


Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is a surgical paradigm to improve patient care through smaller incisions. The result is lowered costs and improved quality due to shortened hospital stays, reduced infection rates, and treatment for conditions that were previously not possible. A key technology in MIS is the mobile x-ray fluoroscope (aka “C”-arm). By providing live high resolution x-ray images of the patient during surgery, a surgeon can track the tip of a guide wire in a vessel or watch the trajectory of a screw being placed in the hip joint.

The development of mobile fluoroscopy presents several interesting design challenges. Power is not always available at the requisite level (up to 15 kW) from a standard wall socket. X-ray tubes are notoriously inefficient, shedding more than 99% of the input energy as waste heat. Further, a very small fraction of the incident x-rays reach the image detector, generally less than 1 percent and depends on patient thickness. Resultant images are inherently noisy due to low photon counts that reach the image detector. We will cover current solutions to these problems and introduce concepts where developing technologies can further improve the imaging performance of x-ray fluoroscopy and provide better safety to patient and surgical staff.

About the Presenters

Larry Anderton is the Chief Engineer for the Surgical Division of GE Healthcare. His career began at Unisys as a test technician, progressed to Edo Western Corporation where he held several positions from field service through engineering. His product design experience included sonar depth sounding, side-scan sonar, and high resolution video camera design for underwater and aerospace applications. In 1978, Larry joined the Varian Ultrasound division of Varian Associates, where he became involved in analog circuit design for phased array ultrasound products, C-arm fluoroscope video systems design, and later, x-ray generator design. In 1995, he accepted the position of Chief Engineer. Larry currently holds 13 patents relating to x-ray fluoroscopy. Larry has enjoyed a lifelong hobby in electronics and amateur radio.

Jon Lea is the Advanced Technology and Research Manager for the Surgical Division of GE Healthcare. Jon received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Western Michigan University and Northwestern University respectively, with a focus on robotics for surgery. Jon was co-founder of Surgical Insights, a developer of surgical navigation applications for orthopedics, which was acquired by GE in 2001. He held several technical positions within GE’s surgical navigation business in the Boston area before relocating to Utah. He enjoys downhill skiing , mountain biking, and playing guitar and piano.