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Go pro in surgery

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Go pro in surgery

Postby VetsTail » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Edit: Just to point out this is Veterinary surgery and written permission from owners would be essential!

I am thinking about using a gopro as a discreet and 'easy' way to record some of my surgical cases and produce a couple of videos for other veterinary students and to help inform the public what goes on behind closed doors. I know it might not be the best camera for the job in terms of distortion but I can correct that if necessary, getting the entire situation (nurses, instruments) into the shot would be interesting and give a better sense of 'being there' rather than just a pair of hands.

In a surgery aseptic conditions are obviously a no-brainer,however whilst all surfaces are 'clean' and disinfected, the entire theatre is not put through an autoclave. This allows me to mount the camera on some surfaces without much trouble. It would be good practice though to make sure the mountings and gopro are sterile. There are a couple of options and I wouldn't mind your opinion on what would be best, it will be a while before I get to put anything into practice but I will let you know how things go when I do!

1 - Put the casing through the autoclave. Problem is I have no idea what this would do to the plastics. Not sure I would want to risk it all melting! I might try putting some similar plastic through and seeing what happens.

2- use some kind of contact disinfectant on the casing and leave to soak for a period. Again, this might decolour or cause damage. I will try on a discreet edge perhaps.

3 - put the entire lot into another casing that I know can safely go through the autoclave, perhaps with a glass lens. Probably means making a custom job.

I will post updates if anyone is interested, any advice appreciated :-)
Last edited by VetsTail on Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Go pro in surgery

Postby peter nap » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:15 am

Sounds like a wonderful project!
Th autoclave will melt it but you can soak it in normal antiseptics I think.
Betadine and others may discolor the case although I doubt it...but the lens is glass and should be fine.

Keep us informed on this.
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Re: Go pro in surgery

Postby Ramirez » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:23 am

I've used the GoPro in surgery a few times and got great results. No one seemed too bothered wether it was sterile or not!!!
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Re: Go pro in surgery

Postby coupe1942 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:35 am

I don't mean to sound as if I am raining on your parade in what I say. This is just some stuff I'd consider if I were thinking of such. Being able to video is great and a great learning tool, but everything has some drawbacks or cautions and you have to weigh them out for yourself, regardless of how they may sound.

When I worked in the OR, being assigned as a surgical scrub nurse, the lighting was bright, but concentrated on the patient and the table. Not especially bright to the rest of the room. That may create and issue for you in lighting and there is also the issue of the GoPro not really focusing all that well in the distance. The fish eye effect could ruin some stuff, so you would have to play with the camera to see exactly what to expect. They typical human OR was alsways kept cold to reduce the possibility of bacteria growth. Not cold enough to freeze you, but you would notice it and that may somehow effect battery life, perhaps. Getting anything near a close up shot of a key procedure would be a challenge if the camera was mounted on a off far wall. A dedicated camera person with perhaps a chesty mount may be a better option than a mounted camera stand. The piece I'd prefer to use for a wall mount in such a situation, would be the accessory piece sold by eye of mine, that clamps onto the GoPro tripod mount. It would eliminate the use of the camera case and could easily be mounted to a metal surface with a magnetic base attached.

One big problem is common for doctors these days. No matter what the owner says, a camera is a recording instrument. It simply records information as pictures. It is not prejudice in doing so, so it can be used under the best of intent, but result in a big mess in the long run. It can easily record mistakes or errors and, in the hands of a good lawyer, that can be drastic and have consequences for those involved. An error does not simply mean you made a mistake, but may be that you didn't do somthing in accordance with what the expected norm is, too. Yup, folk like to sue and when they are angry about something that was an accident or didn't go their way, they are twice as quick to do so where there is a machine simply recording events. Our labor and delivery unit had to stop allowing the live filming of births, as the legalities were just not worth the risks involved if something ever went wrong. I'd want to say that vet surgery is totally different, but have an owner lose a pet and I'd bet they would be quick to use your video against you. It may sound paranoid a bit or overly cautious, but when I was an investigator for the State of Texas, even the state did not approve of the use of hidden cameras in nursing homes and group homes. However, that changed over time and you now see non-hidden ones in psych hosptials and other places. I'm just saying that you may want to check that out before making any final decision on it.

The atuoclave info can be checked out by your surgical folk for you, as far as its limitations or possible issues.

I just believe you will have much better luck with a totally different camera than the GoPro inside a small surgical suite and with the confines and lighting problems there. Good luck in finding out if I am right or wrong. You never know until you try.
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Re: Go pro in surgery

Postby VetsTail » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:26 am

@ ramirez: I can imagine that's the case in many places and sterilising the casing may be excessive given the microscopic detritus is around the room despite all of our precautions. For my own conscience and peace of mind I will do everything possible though! We can't shave the entire dog for an op either, just think of all the muck in the coat surrounding the surgical site underneath the drapes. Saying that I won't be going anywhere near orthopaedic ops!

@Peter: I didn't realise the casing lens was glass - Good to know, thank you!

@ Coupe: Thanks for the long reply! There are some of the things I have also considered. Firstly I would like to point out that I would be the operating surgeon which makes things easier for me to organise!

Room temperature: I have no idea where you have worked but we *never* operate in chilly conditions. To stop bacterial growth the temperature would have to be so low that we would jeopardise patient health whilst under anaesthesia. This is because anaesthesia messes with homeostatic function, hence breathing and heart rate slow down and we loose the ability to thermoregulate. The operating table soon turns into a slab when a patient becomes hypothermic.

Camera Placement: Up for debate although I intend on shooting with it attached to the surgical light above the patient, looking down onto the surgery. The problem is of course dynamic range, with a bright light on the surgical site and less light around the table on the people. Having said that we certainly don't operate in dark conditions.

Sensitive environment: You are absolutely right that people are sue happy. There is also the flip side of the coin showing that you responded appropriately in the situation. What refusing to operate with a camera implies is that if you screw up without a camera present that you would deny you did anything wrong? That isn't how I work! Being the surgeon at work here, if I am happy with it and have permission, it's my call.

Autoclave: Fortunately I am quite confident in their use.
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Re: Go pro in surgery

Postby flareside » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:03 am

VetsTail wrote:Camera Placement: Up for debate although I intend on shooting with it attached to the surgical light above the patient, looking down onto the surgery. The problem is of course dynamic range, with a bright light on the surgical site and less light around the table on the people. Having said that we certainly don't operate in dark conditions.


Spot metering mode will set the proper metering on the lighted area so that shouldn't be a problem. The big issue may be field of view and distance from the patient. Unless you can get fairly close, the active area being taped will be insignificantly small in the final video. You may need to change to an aftermarket lens.
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Re: Go pro in surgery

Postby coupe1942 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:10 am

I was not speaking of freezing to the extent of the condition you mention, but every operating room I was ever in was not a tropical paradise heat wave by any means. 68-73 degrees was pretty much the norm, but sure seemed cooler in scrubs or a gown.

The spot metering reply was probably pretty accurate to consider, as to what happens to the film being shot, as to size. I believe that was discussed with some of the similar problems i had with my own video in the past.

Being the doc in charge has its advantages as to organization and such, for sure. You should be able to at least run some tests to see just what works and what needs further improvement or refinement. It probably won't be a one time trial for best results, too. Good luck on experimenting with the GoPro under such conditions. Lights, action, camera, as they say. :-)
Last edited by coupe1942 on Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Go pro in surgery

Postby atom » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:59 am

last i checked, the lens on the CASE is plastic - the HD2 has a glass lens on the camera, but otherwise the HD1 and case lenses are plastic.

my 1st thoughts would be put the camera in the case and dip the case in alcohol or iodine. my concern with alcohol is that it would penetrate and/or damage the seals. my concern with iodine would be staining the case and lens. otherwise, just soapy water... but again, penetrating the seals would be a concern because the surface tension of soapy water is low. best to contact gopro about materials and how they're likely to react to various disinfectants, and test for leakage with an EMPTY case, or a case with some tissue paper to show-off any leaks.
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Re: Go pro in surgery

Postby PTCX » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:17 am

atom wrote:last i checked, the lens on the CASE is plastic - the HD2 has a glass lens on the camera, but otherwise the HD1 and case lenses are plastic.
best to contact gopro about materials and how they're likely to react to various disinfectants,


Speaking of contacting GoPro about materials,maybe you should check again.http://gopro.com/camera-accessories/len ... ement-kit/
Construction - GLASS.PNG
Construction - GLASS.PNG (76.89 KiB) Viewed 5455 times

The HD1 also has a glass lens.
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Re: Go pro in surgery

Postby peter nap » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:47 am

atom wrote:last i checked, the lens on the CASE is plastic - the HD2 has a glass lens on the camera, but otherwise the HD1 and case lenses are plastic.

my 1st thoughts would be put the camera in the case and dip the case in alcohol or iodine. my concern with alcohol is that it would penetrate and/or damage the seals. my concern with iodine would be staining the case and lens. otherwise, just soapy water... but again, penetrating the seals would be a concern because the surface tension of soapy water is low. best to contact gopro about materials and how they're likely to react to various disinfectants, and test for leakage with an EMPTY case, or a case with some tissue paper to show-off any leaks.


Maybe you got one of those Ebay Fake Cases. :o

I just looked, I have 2 HD2 OEM cases, 6 OEM HD1 cases and 7 extra cases. There's no difference in the lenses in any of them and GoPro says they're glass. I'm not gonna try to melt one. I'll take their word for it.
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