New Orthopedic Operating Suite Incorporates High-Tech Tools

By Roxanne Squires

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — Middlesex Health successfully opened a new, state-of-the-art orthopedic operating suite — a facility that features two 600-square-foot operating rooms and advanced robotic technology as a part of a larger surgical services expansion project.

The suite complements Middlesex Health’s joint and spine program, which includes a dedicated inpatient unit and rehabilitation and homecare services.

Middlesex’s team of orthopedic surgeons helped to design the suite to ensure that it meets the needs of their patients and accommodates new technology.

“From an OR perspective, we’ve been looking for more operating room availability while orthopedic growth in our hospital has been increasing for the past decade,” said Dr. Mark Lorenze, chair of the Department of Surgery.

“Our orthopedic surgeons at Middlesex Health are excited to work in these new, state-of-the-art operating rooms, which are dedicated to providing the highest technology available for joint replacement surgery and spine surgery. At Middlesex Health, we are dedicated to providing advanced orthopedic care while maintaining a high level of compassion for our patients.”

Over the past year, Middlesex began using the NAVIO Surgical System, a robotic tool that allows orthopedic surgeons to place the components of your knee during partial or full replacement surgeries with greater precision. It also began using ExcelsiusGPS, a robotic 3D navigation system used to perform minimally invasive spine surgery, especially spine fusions.

“We were able to accommodate rooms that are more high-tech and create more space for more equipment,” said Dr. Lorenze. “There’s a lot of room and you don’t have to go far in the OR to get the equipment needed. [David Giuffrida, vice president of Operations for Middlesex Health] did a great job in designing it so that staff can bring equipment quickly. The rooms are also designed to provide the needed space for the NAVIO Surgical System. The rooms themselves are a state-of-the-art laminate flow. Computer systems with large display monitors are also connected to the electronic records.”

In addition to the orthopedic suite, Middlesex is improving other aspects of its surgical area. This includes the space dedicated to Central Sterile Services, the department responsible for sterilizing and delivering operating instruments and equipment. This will allow the department, which employs many, to work more efficiently.

With this new design, the facility has the ability to take sterile pans and get them through without breaking the sterility of the room, with windows to pass instruments and brighter, improved lighting to create better visibility. 

There is also plenty of room for anesthesia and their equipment, making the rooms less crowded as well as safer for the patient.

The ability to incorporate sustainable features into this facility was limited, but HVAC units were replaced with much more efficient units as well as the installment of LED lighting. 

“What I’m most proud of is the way we were able to take a space that was functional before we started and to make it into something that is really going to benefit the hospital for years to come,” said Giuffrida.

The firm selected S/L/A/M Collaborative of Glastonbury, Conn., to design the facility while Whiting-Turner Construction Company served as the contractor.

The design planning of the project began in January of 2017 while construction started in early 2018. The first surgery was performed at the new OR suite on Feb. 18, 2019.