What's That Tv Set Doing On Your Surgeon's Head?

If you feel alarmed that your surgeon is running around with a bicycle helmet on, relax. Battelle Memorial Institute has attached a small video monitor to the front of a helmet, counterweighted at the back, to help endoscopic surgeons view their work without having to look at a display across the operating room. In endoscopic procedures--such as operations to remove the gall bladder--surgeons insert a tube through a small incision and rely on a tiny video camera to view the area they are working on.

More than 100 of those attending a recent meeting of the American College of Surgeons in New Orleans tried on the helmet, which has been successfully tested at U.S. Health Corp.'s Grant Hospital in Battelle's home town of Columbus, Ohio. The 2-pound video helmet still needs to be a little lighter, says Laura Eichenlaub, marketing manager for Battelle's medical product development group, but half a dozen companies have expressed interest in making it.