IRDC: A home for surgery and research

Released September 18th, 2009

The International Reference and Development Centre for Surgical Technology (IRDC) in Leipzig is a development, research and training center for surgical technologies. At this facility, experienced surgeons perform procedures in a cutting-edge environment, and visiting physicians are trained in forward-looking technologies. The KARL STORZ comprehensive concept for a specialty OR links the operating room to the entire logistical process from patient check-in to follow-up and discharge to the primary care physician.

Medical technology is one of the most exciting areas of innovation affecting surgery today. For the past decade, computer-assisted surgery has been at the center of rapid technological progress: In the operating room, surgical navigation systems support the surgeon in the preparation and conduction of procedures. The operator „steers“ the high-tech instruments like an experienced pilot. When training using a simulator, surgeons learn to take full advantage of all systems to benefit their patients – as do pilots in flight simulators. With the IRDC, Germany has now gained a unique training center for surgical specialties that focuses on surgical assistance systems.

In a facility affiliated with a medical center, minimally invasive procedures are performed in ENT, orthopedics, pediatric surgery, neurosurgery and urology using two OR1™ operating rooms with novel cockpit design and modern equipment arrangement. Under real-life conditions, the IRDC demonstrates the potential associated with harmonizing newest generation medical devices. The devices bring together micro-device technology, information technology, electrical engineering, electronics, sensor technology, etc. Groundbreaking inventions in imaging technology afford high resolution display in Full HD. The sterile area of the OR is directly linked with outside experts and data bases.

However, the surgical suite in the IRDC is not an isolated solution. It is now integrated in a comprehensive concept with complex control mechanisms and linked with hospital logistics as well as electronic documentation systems. In this KARL STORZ comprehensive concept for a specialty OR, all patient information is linked, analyzed and then made accessible to the surgeon before, during and after the procedure. As a result, the surgeon gains a true assistant. Patients benefit from increased safety and transparency, as they can even view three-dimensional displays and medical information on surgical planning. They are up-to-date during all phases of treatment, which promotes trust.

The numerous applications of the KARL STORZ comprehensive concept for a specialty OR as well as the surgical cockpit require special training. Housed in a building larger than 800 square meters, the IRDC provides everything needed for surgical training classes, development workshops and teleconferences. The high-technology center expects more than 300 experts from all over the world to visit every year. The surgeon-to-surgeon training model guarantees the exchange of experience among experts.

The IRDC has far-reaching collaboration agreements with internationally renowned surgeons, the Leipzig University Medical School, the Innovation Center Computer Assisted Surgery (ICCAS), the Leipzig University Medical Center as well as the department of Microtechnology and Medical Device Technology of Munich Technical University. Professor Andreas Dietz, director of the Leipzig University Medical Center’s Otorhinolaryngology Department, leads the International Board of Experts and coordinates the close collaboration between IRDC and Leipzig University and University Medical Center. With Professor Tim C. Lüth from the department of Microtechnology and Medical Device Technology of Munich Technical University, another major leader in the area of surgical assistance systems is a member of the Board of Experts.

The IRDC integrates all products and prototypes from the realm of surgical automation and assistance made by the well-established company KARL STORZ and its partners. A complete treatment unit for ENT surgery – the first of its kind worldwide - is presented by KARL STORZ at the Leipzig reference center.

IRDC courses, meetings and training sessions are designed for groups of up to 40 people. Live transmissions in Full HD quality from and to the two OR1 operating rooms and the Leipzig University Medical Center are just as feasible as are transmissions to anywhere in the world using streaming technology. A lounge surrounded by glass holds up to 10 visitors who can observe procedures performed in the OR.

The Tuttlingen medical technology company KARL STORZ has made the deliberate decision to provide long-term support for the IRDC located in Leipzig. Extensive local experience in the medical high-tech sector was a key factor in the decision. The presence of ICCAS, which was founded in 2005 at the Leipzig University Medical School and is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), also makes the region a highly attractive location. At ICCAS, neurosurgeons and cardiac surgeons as well as ENT specialists are developing the bases for modern medical technology systems in collaboration with computer scientists and engineers. In addition, scientists in Leipzig collaborate in a number of research projects supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), some in cooperation with the Microtechnology and Medical Device Technology department of the Munich Technical University.

For additional information, please visit

For questions and appointments for interviews, video and foto sessions, please contact:

PD Dr. Gero Strauß
Direktor IRDC
Käthe-Kollwitz-Straße 64
04109 Leipzig
Fon: +49 (0)341 – 33 73 31 60
Fax: +49 (0)341 – 33 73 31 63

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