The whole field of medicine is currently witnessing a trend towards interdisciplinary centres of expertise and treatment in view of increasing complexity and the growing demand and pressure for efficiency.

For some time now, surgical disciplines have seen a growing trend to minimally invasive procedures. Alongside the surgical disciplines, originally purely diagnostic, non-invasive disciplines have developed and promoted minimally invasive methods. Such disciplines include for example cardiology, gastroenterology, angiology and, above all, radiology, which have the most efficient imaging systems and the corresponding special know-how. Imaging systems are all the more important when direct vision is not possible to reduce the invasive nature of a procedure. Minimally invasive therapy is image-guided therapy, based on special optical techniques or digital image processing.

Surgery is attaching increasing importance to modern imaging systems and computer technology. This applies to both elective surgery and emergency medicine. Interdisciplinary networking of diagnosis and therapy reveal new paths in the surgical future. The AWIGS and VIWAS systems have been developed as a concept for allowing these two disciplines, which were previously separated in physical terms as well as in time, to grow together.

AWIGS (Advanced Workplace for Image Guided Surgery) and VIWAS (Vascular Interventional Workplace for Advanced Surgery) open up new possibilities for treating patients, and form a bridge between surgery and radiology. The two high-tech systems allow for diagnosis, operation and checking results in one unit. This avoids the need for time-consuming patient transfers, with all the associated dangers (O Fig. 6.14).

6.2.2 Overview of the system components

The two systems are based on two structural columns, the so-called duplex column, which offers the greatest stability. The columns can be moved along a linear guide, offering free access to all parts of the body on an operating table, for the first time in imaging diagnostics. The systems consist of various support surfaces, two patient transporters, an AWIGS transfer table specially developed for standard diagnosis and an AWIGS CT table which, in this concept, is positioned behind the computed tomography (CT) unit. It is thus possible to proceed with whole-body scans without having to re-bed or turn the patient.

The AWIGS/VIWAS system can be combined with the diagnostic components computed tomography unit (GE Medical Systems or Siemens Medical Solutions) and with an angiography system (of various makes).

The components can be linked together in different ways, depending on the application (O Fig. 6.15).

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