Olympus enters separate collabs on endoscopic ultrasound and 3D surgery

August 24, 2018
by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter
Olympus is pairing up with Hitachi Healthcare Americas in the distribution of the ARIETTA 850 premium ultrasound processor and FlexDex Inc. in the distribution of the FlexDex Needle Driver.

Designed to enhance the depth of information available to endoscopists, the EUS solution is the latest introduction to Olympus’ partnership with the American subsidiary of the Japanese-based enterprise. Its distribution coincides with the formation of another collaboration that will oversee the exclusive U.S. distribution of the FlexDex Needle Driver product by Olympus.

“Olympus has a longstanding history with Hitachi Healthcare Americas in endoscopic ultrasound. We previously worked with Aloka, which was acquired by Hitachi Healthcare Americas, to develop the ProSound F75, SSD-Alpha10, SSD-Alpha5 and SSD-5000,” Alyssa Machain, EUS product manager at Olympus, told HCB News. “The ARIETTA 850 has several unique features, including a 22-inch wide OLED monitor, eFocusing technology, real-time tissue elastography (RTE) and strain histograms.”

Unlike conventional endoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound provides users with an internal vantage point beyond the view of the innermost lining of the digestive tract and wall for visualization of all five layers of the GI tract as well as surrounding tissue and organs.

The new OLED monitor requires no backlighting, displaying true black, which enables access to previously unattainable contrast resolution and the highest quality grayscale display.

Further enhancing the image is the integration of eFocusing technology, a transmission and reception technology that provides focus throughout the depth of field by improving signal to noise ratio of the intensity between the received signal and background noise. This eliminates manual adjustments of focal zones and provides quality imaging from near to far field with less patient-dependent variability.

ARIETTA 850 can assess tissue strain in real time with the use of RTE, which displays measurements of differences in tissue stiffness as a color map. Its depiction of tissue elasticity or stiffness in the areas of interest can be used to indicate disease processes and may help physicians identify appropriate areas for biopsies. Quantitative characteristics of the elasticity are calculated with strain histogram, which provides a hue histogram for the values of relative strain within the region of interest.

Such capabilities allow for greater detailed observations and provide lower costs of ownership as well as training with on-site support from clinical application specialists.

Olympus' ultrasound endoscopes are compatible with ultrasound technology produced by Hitachi which has also established another partnership with scil animal care, a division of Henry Schein Animal Health, expanding the collaboration earlier this month to take control of national coverage and distribution of its ultrasound solutions within the veterinary market.

The distribution of the ARIETTA 850 also comes as the same time as another agreement to distribute FlexDex’s wristed needle-driver, alongside Olympus’ 3D laparoscopic imaging technology, and designed for intuitive control in minimally-invasive procedures across a range of specialties.

FlexDex's wristed needle-driver
Attaching its three-axis gimbal to the surgeon’s wrist, the solution controls a series of mechanical components that convert the movement of the surgeon’s hand to the tip of the instrument. Its mechanical design is constructed to create movements that act as an end effector inside the patient, corresponding with those of a surgeon’s hand, wrist and arm from outside of the patient.

The use of these intuitive, articulated movements and rotations equips surgeons with the precision and control needed to easily suture hard-to-reach areas of the abdomen, sparing them the costs and constraints of robotic systems while increasing patient satisfaction and quality of life.

“The additional depth perception provided by Olympus' 3D imaging allows for easier angle identification and orientation within the abdomen when using articulating devices such as FlexDex,” Corinne Janetski, director of marketing for Imaging at Olympus, told HCB News. “Gaining the depth perception that is traditionally lost in a 2D environment becomes particularly important when introducing technology like FlexDex, which is used in the more challenging suture-intensive steps of laparoscopic procedures such as ventral hernia repair and hysterectomies.”