• A Portable Shoulder-Mounted GoPro Camera System for Surgical Education in Minimally Invasive and Complex Spine Surgery

    Final Number:

    Martin H. Pham MD; Frank L. Acosta MD; Patrick C. Hsieh MD, MSc; John C. Liu MD

    Study Design:

    Subject Category:

    Meeting: Congress of Neurological Surgeons 2015 Annual Meeting

    Introduction: The past several years have demonstrated an increased recognition of operative videos as an important adjunct for neurosurgical resident education. Currently lacking, however, are comprehensive surgical videos illustrating the techniques of minimally invasive and complex spine surgery. At this time, there are few good options available for this field.

    Methods: Requirements for an effective camera system included wireless portability to allow for movement around the operating room, camera mount location for comfort and loupes/headlight usage, battery life for long operative days, and sterile control of on/off recording. With this in mind, we created a shoulder-mounted camera system utilizing a GoPro HERO3+, its Smart Remote, a high-capacity Anker External Battery, and a Stuntman Action Camera Mount (Figures 1 and 2).

    Results: The Anker battery increased the battery life of the GoPro HERO3+ by ten-fold and allowed the system to remain on for over 20 hours of continuous use. The Smart Remote was accessible sterilely at the left chest to start and stop video recordings during pertinent portions of a minimally invasive or complex spinal surgery case (Figure 3). This shoulder-mounted system was more comfortable to wear for long periods of time in comparison to existing head-mounted and loupe-mounted systems. Without requiring any wired connections, the surgeon was free to move around the room as needed. All components were easily disassembled and stored in a small carrying case for continued portability (Figure 4).

    Conclusions: Surgical videos serve as a platform to distribute important operative nuances in rich multimedia. Effective and practical camera system setups are needed to encourage the continued creation of videos to illustrate the surgical maneuvers in minimally invasive and complex spinal surgery. We describe here a novel portable shoulder-mounted GoPro camera system setup specifically designed to be worn and used for long periods of time in the operating room.

    Patient Care: The description of this camera system will encourage its use and improvement by other surgeons to record intraoperative videos for the purposes of education. Documenting and teaching important surgical maneuvers in minimally invasive and complex spine surgery will subsequently improve patient care through the production of better prepared and better trained surgeons.

    Learning Objectives: By the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to: 1) Describe the importance of operative videos in surgical education, 2) Discuss, in small groups, the importance of practical camera systems and how they can be utilized for demonstrating surgical maneuvers, and 3) Identify an effective use of this described portable shoulder-mounted camera system in a spine surgery case for the purposes of recording an operative educational video for future editing.


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