Sightpath Medical is proud to stand at the forefront of the ophthalmic field by providing over 500 surgeons with extensive training in laser-assisted cataract surgery. After performing thousands of laser cataract procedures across over 260 locations, we are well-versed in the best – and worst – ways to implement this exciting, new technology.
Here are some of the things we’ve learned about bringing laser cataract surgery to your facility.
1. Stay the Course
Many people falsely believe that introducing a femtosecond laser into their practice will change their entire surgery routine. In our experience, however, we’ve found that the surgeons who adapt most easily to this technology are the ones who keep their surgery procedure relatively unchanged. While the laser itself might be new – and perhaps a little intimidating – your typical routine will be old and familiar. Do what you can to keep the changes minimal, especially when you’re just starting out.
That being said, LACS does have some differences from traditional cataract surgery. With time and practice, you’ll know which parts of your usual routine you need to change, and which parts can stay the same.
2. Location, Location, Location
Another common mistake is the belief that the laser portion of the surgery MUST be performed in an operating room. This is not true.
The femtosecond laser does not require a designated surgery room and can in fact be used in a pre- or post-operative area. This flexibility allows LACS to be used in small and large treatment settings alike. The mobility of the laser also makes it possible to fine tune patient flow by placing the laser in different areas depending on the case.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Just because it’s a cliché doesn’t mean it’s not true – in both surgery and life, practice makes a world of difference. In the beginning, you might find that you’re spending longer on each case and that your patient flow is less efficient than it once was.
Don’t fret! We’ve found that most surgeons can perform the laser cataract portion of their surgery in just three minutes by the time they’ve performed enough cases to be successfully credentialed. Science backs us up too – research has found that the learning curve for femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery is similar to (or even faster than!) the learning curve associated with traditional phacoemulsification.
“It’s important to keep in mind that the 400th case will be easier than the 50th case, which was much easier than the 3rd case,” said Daniel Bregman, MD, a surgeon we’ve trained who currently works with Eye Health Partners in Nashville, Tennessee. “Because like any surgical procedure, it takes time to fine-tune the technique and process.”