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Women's Health doctor brings 3-D technology to Langley

By Staff Sgt. Stephanie R. Plichta 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

A Women's Health doctor at Langley Air Force Base is transforming the way medical procedures are performed.

With new cutting-edge technology and 3-D tools, U.S. Air Force Dr. (Maj.) Arthur Greenwood, 633rd Medical Operation Squadron Women's Health staff obstetrician-gynecologist, hopes to provide better services while leading the way for new medical procedures.

Traditionally, hysterectomies are performed through multiple incisions on the abdomen. Greenwood performs both traditional and single-incision hysterectomies as needed. By using the single-incision method, Greenwood only needs to make a single incision in the patient's navel.

Greenwood is currently the only surgeon performing single-incision laparoscopic hysterectomies in the U.S. Air Force.

As a result of the single incision, patients can expect faster suture time, as well as improved accuracy and precision during the procedure. 

"Previously, women didn't have a choice when it came to [having a single-incision] hysterectomies," said Greenwood. "While not everyone is eligible for a single-incision laparoscopic hysterectomy, women at least now have options."

Greenwood performed his four-year residency training at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, N.C., where he learned the advanced laparoscopic skills that he brought to USAF Hospital Langley.

Greenwood takes pride in performing his duties and most recently was the first doctor at Langley to use 3-D technology. During a single-incision hysterectomy, he used the 3-D scope.

"I've been able to perform five or six surgeries using 3-D glasses, a 3-D monitor and a [two-charge-coupled] laparoscope," said Greenwood. "I wear 3-D glasses just like in the movies, and it allows me to view everything in 3-D as opposed to viewing it flat and 2-D."

Recently, Greenwood performed a single-incision laparoscopic hysterectomy using 3-D technology on a patient who would normally need multiple incisions. Because of the 3-D laparoscope the patient had a quicker recovery time and less discomfort.

The 3-D laparoscopic scope can be bent up to 100 degrees in four directions which provides a front view and additional angles of the tissue during the procedure. The flexibility to view from any angle allows surgeons to move through smaller spaces with precision, especially during technically-difficult procedures.

The laparoscope uses two cameras, each with its own signal to mimic human eyesight, which is processed by a video system to generate a high-resolution 3-D image. The image is then displayed on a monitor and viewed through 3-D glasses, providing a realistic, three-dimensional image allowing surgeons to perform precise procedures.

While Greenwood is the only person able to perform these procedures, he believes that without a great team by his side the mission wouldn't succeed.

"I am proud that I am able to provide this service, but it's important to remember that everybody in this clinic does a fantastic job," said Greenwood. "It is important to me that the part I do provide is top-notch."

For more information about single incision laparoscopic hysterectomies, the Women's Health Clinic suggests speaking with your primary care physician.
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