A new era in teaching: how advanced optical recording technology could change the postcesarean delivery complication conundrum

Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM. 2022 Nov;4(6):100744. doi: 10.1016/j.ajogmf.2022.100744. Epub 2022 Sep 14.


Background: The last 4 decades have seen increased complications after cesarean deliveries. Despite an incomplete understanding of their etiology, surgical practices have been adopted, creating disproportionate morbidity and the absence of preventive strategies. Additional research tools are needed for further investigation.

Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the VITOM high-definition optical recording system as a tool to highlight cesarean operative steps and surgical techniques and assess the use of its video recordings for operating room team teaching and research potential.

Study design: Contemporaneous cesarean delivery techniques offer no resolution to long-term postcesarean sequelae. From March 2015 to February 2022, a novel tool, VITOM exoscope, was evaluated and used to photograph and video record 104 elective cesarean deliveries. The images were projected on a large screen to be viewed by scrubbed-in and unscrubbed personnel and recorded for future use. During this period, staff participants in 3 designated operating rooms reached 514, including 168 trainee residents, 5 nurse practitioners, 6 physician assistants, 21 medical students, 70 surgical technicians, and 110 circulating nurses. The maternal ages of patients varied from 21 to 49 years. Gestational ages ranged from 28 0/7 to 41 6/7 weeks of gestation. Selected photographs of crucial cesarean surgical steps were taken and printed. Video recordings were stored in designated institutional data storage and uploaded onto a secure drive for further use. After every case, debriefing was held, and subjective opinions were obtained from the various participants.

Results: The VITOM was used for 104 cesarean deliveries. Setup time was reduced from 7 minutes initially to 3 minutes with more experience. All staff participants had only positive evaluations and remarks about the image quality and the clear delineation of specific anatomic landmarks. By polling medical students and residents in training, the VITOM experience was described as very useful and, in a few cases, only somewhat useful. The scrubbed surgical technicians and circulating nurses gained a better understanding of surgical layers, improving their ability to anticipate subsequent surgical steps, thereby streamlining operating flow and efficiency. Unscrubbed personnel could also follow the operation's progression despite being remote from the sterile field. Anesthesiologists could follow the operative field and eventual blood loss in plain view. Recorded videos and still photographs were used at clinical teaching conferences and in peer-reviewed publications, enhancing understanding of cesarean delivery techniques.

Conclusion: The VITOM exoscope provided superb image quality, enabling a clear vision of the anatomic structures of the cesarean operation. It is a promising additional research tool to capture important details of the employed surgical techniques and provides a possible insight into long-term postcesarean sequelae.

Keywords: VITOM optical system; cesarean delivery; cesarean techniques; double-layer closure; endometrium-free closure technique; exoscope; peritoneum; single-layer closure; surgical techniques; telescope; uterine closure techniques.