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UAB First in Southeast to Use Light Visualization Technology for Vascular Procedures

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This month, Adam Beck, M.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, performed the first procedure in the Southeast using a new light-based, visualization technology called Fiber Optic RealShape, or FORS.

The UAB Cardiovascular Institute is one of only six centers in the world with this technology and the third to perform a procedure of this sort in the United States. The other two centers to utilize FORS, thus far, in the United States are UMass Memorial Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

FORS, a holistic technology platform, enables 3D device visualization using light instead of fluoroscopy to guide navigation of wires and catheters through blood vessels. 

The FORS catheters and wires are similar to typical catheters used for vascular procedures. Optical guidance is achieved when the FORS visualization is juxtaposed to pre-operative 3D imaging created from CT scans that are used as a roadmap. 

Beck performed this first FORS procedure at UAB to treat thoracoabdominal aneurysms, a bulging in the aorta that extends from the chest to the abdomen. He introduced a custom-made stent for a patient who otherwise would have been treated with a large, open surgery. 

Although the FORS systems is used primarily for the treatment of complex aortic diseases, it will have applications in other vascular procedures. The ambition is to eventually expand more broadly to other specialties and procedures, such as coronary stenting, intracranial procedures, chemo-embolization and more.

Beck, who has helped with the development of the technology, is pleased with the first experience with the FORS system and is excited to see the applications expand in the future. 

“This technology is really transformative and is as cutting-edge as anything I’ve seen in my medical career thus far,” Beck said.

Article provided by UAB News.