LSU issued patent for medical device that sheds new light on surgical procedures

Published 10:41 am Monday, August 23, 2021

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New Orleans, LA – US Patent 11,085,611 has been issued for a medical device that sheds new light on surgical procedures. Rohan Walvekar, MD, Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, and Jin-Woo Choi, PhD, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at LSU, invented a surgical headlight that automatically tracks to the surgical field of interest with a positional indicator, eliminating the need to manually adjust the headlamp when it has moved out of position.

            “Surgical procedures require strong and constant illumination,” notes Dr. Walvekar. “Current lamp systems for the surgical theater are typically immobile and, therefore, once adjusted to a fixed point, cannot be moved unless they are manually readjusted. Fixed lighting systems may also result in blocking of the light by, for example, a member of the surgical team such that the work area requiring the light is now in shadow.”

            The position-adaptive lighting system comprises a pan/tilt adjustable housing enclosing a digital imaging system and a lens module that is operably connected to a computer-based digital control unit, a lamp, and a position indicator detectable by the digital camera system and the computer-based digital control unit. The tracking light can be attached to a headpiece or mounted on a floor stand.

            This innovation not only saves time but also reduces the risk of infection. Manual readjustment of a headlamp breaks the sterile field necessitating re-sterilization or fine-tuning if an assistant performed the adjustment.

            The idea came to Walvekar following a surgical case.

            “It was a few years back when I was working on a long cancer case, having had to adjust my headlight several times,” he recalls. “I thought, there has got to be a better way to do this!”

            Besides surgeries, the technology has a host of other medical and commercial applications. It could be valuable for non-healthcare commercial applications such as in mining, archeology – essentially any process where directing light to a point of focus in a dynamic fashion could be valuable. For instance, the invention encompasses the concept that if we were to create a small tracking attachment that could be fixed on to, for example, a surgical instrument, then the adaptive light would be able to follow the movements of the instrument.

            “Companies that make cameras could use this technology to automate their cameras to follow an external tracker,” adds Walvekar. “Think of a selfie stick – currently, it’s not dynamic; now it could be!”

            “Innovations like this have been on the rise at LSU Health in the past few years,” adds Patrick Reed, RTTP, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Innovation & Partnerships. “Our hospital-based inventors are frequent problem solvers.  If it makes their jobs easier, the innovations are also likely to solve their peers’ problems.”


LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans educates Louisiana’s health care professionals. The state’s flagship health sciences university, LSU Health New Orleans includes a School of Medicine with branch campuses in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, the state’s only School of Dentistry, Louisiana’s only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSU Health New Orleans faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research in a number of areas in a worldwide arena, the LSU Health New Orleans research enterprise generates jobs and enormous economic impact. LSU Health New Orleans faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment, or cure disease. To learn more, visit http://www.lsuhsc.edu, or