What is the Cios Alpha?

Posted on 30 March 2016

Mediclinic Milnerton recently acquired the Cios Alpha, a versatile imaging alternative which can be used during open surgery as part of a hybrid vascular procedure. It’s the first of its kind in South Africa… but what exactly does it do?

‘The Cios Alpha is an innovative, state-of-the-art X-ray capturing machine that allows vascular surgeons to obtain optimal imaging and clinical information regarding a patient’s vascular pathology,’ explains Dr Pieter Zwanepoel, a vascular surgeon at Mediclinic Milnerton. ‘This translates into advanced decision-making, optimal patient care and improved clinical outcomes.’

So, basically, as he puts it: ‘We will be able to offer a wider range of vascular procedures with minimised risk of complications and reduced length of hospital stay.’

For patients, the major advantage of the Cios Alpha is its motorised, laser-guided X-ray machine, which offers reduced X-ray exposure and radiation risk to the patient. For surgeons, its big selling point is the super-modern imaging technology.

‘These machines offer far better imaging quality and quicker acquisition times, with less radiation to the physician and patient,’ Dr Zwanepoel says. ‘They give us a “subtracted view”, which means that they only show us the vascular anatomy that we are interested in seeing, and it digitally removes all other background tissue from the image, such as bone and muscles.’ Using the Cios Alpha, the vascular surgeon can mark the anatomical structures that are visible in subtracted images – and this makes the surgery quicker and more precise.

Machines like the Cios Alpha – and the similar Artis Zeego at Mediclinic Cape Gate – have been developed as vascular surgery has changed. Dr Zwanepoel explains: ‘Vascular surgery has rapidly evolved into what we call “hybrid surgery”. This is where we do procedures that combine conventional open surgery with endovascular surgery or techniques. For this you need these new, real-time imaging technologies while operating in a normal surgical theatre. This is where the conventional cath labs, used for cardiac intervention, fall short.’

Cath (or catherisation) labs are examination rooms equipped with diagnostic imaging equipment that visualises the arteries and chambers of the heart, helping surgeons to treat any abnormalities. The Cios Alpha – which offers a versatile imaging alternative – is quickly making those cath labs obsolete. ‘In current vascular practice it has become essential to have a full hybrid theatre with either a system such as the Artis Zeego configuration or a dedicated vascular C-arm such as the Cios Alpha,’ says Dr Zwanepoel.

Published in Patient Stories

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