Cataract removal: No theatre? No problem!
The Operio mobile unit in use

Cataract removal: No theatre? No problem!

May 10, 2024 Drew Jones

A mobile air-sterilisation unit which allows cataract surgery to be performed in an office will help relieve some of the pressure on New Zealand’s hospitals, said supplier Medix21’s Camille Furnandiz.


Medix21 has partnered with Toul MediTech to bring its Operio laminar flow unit to the New Zealand market. The unit draws ambient air through a high-efficiency particulate absorbing filter and a single-use laminar air flow screen. Clean air then leaves the screen as a turbulence-free flow, pushing contaminated air away from the risk zone and into the room to be absorbed by the conventional ventilation system, said Ramón Hilberink, Toul’s international sales manager. “The concept of Operio is to create a localised clean area. Instead of a clean room, it creates a miniature operating room environment that is much more effective. As it is plug and play, once it’s switched on, the protected zone is ready for use within seconds.”


Medix21 has pre-sold three of the four units it is initially importing, with the fourth being held as a demo/back-up unit, said Furnandiz. “With the threshold score for cataract surgery being lowered across the country, they will help increase capacity by enabling surgery to be done in clean rooms.”


The first unit off the boat is destined for Hutt Hospital. Te Whatu Ora Capital, Coast and Hutt Valley ophthalmologist Dr Kolin Foo has completed an analysis of how the unit would help more cataract surgery to be done outside an operating theatre, said Furnandiz. Farther north, Hamilton ophthalmologist Dr James McKelvie, who’s waiting on the remaining pair of Operio units for his new practice, said the technology could prove “very disruptive”. “I am chomping at the bit to get started as we now have the rooms and other equipment set up.”


The 42kg Operio units are easily manoeuvred from room to room, said Furnandiz. They’re also available in a ceiling- or boom-mounted iteration and can be teamed with the Steristay mobile instrument table, which produces a directed, non-turbulent airflow over surgical instruments. The units can be purchased or leased, she said.


For more news from Medix21 see p31.