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 DEERFIELD, Ill., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Baxter Healthcare Corporation (NYSE: BAX) introduced today a new surgical-camera system with advanced visualization technology that produces clear video images of internal organs. The system will be used by surgeons to perform endoscopic procedures such as gallbladder removal. The new camera, the Opsis(R) Video DistalCam(TM) System, will help physicians perform more precise endoscopic procedures, benefiting the approximately 3 million people who undergo endoscopic surgery each year.
 The improved visualization provided by the Baxter system may allow doctors to use endoscopic techniques in new areas of surgery. Baxter unveiled the new system today at the annual meeting of the American College of Surgeons in San Francisco.
 Endoscopy enables surgeons to view internal organs and perform surgery through a hollow tube or scope inserted into a small incision in the skin rather than through larger incisions that cause significant trauma, pose a threat of infection and require lengthy recovery periods. Introduced to the general-surgical community in the mid-1980s, endoscopy is widely accepted for a range of surgeries such as gallbladder removal, hernia repair and bowel resection.
 Studies have shown that patients who undergo endoscopic surgery for gallbladder removal recover more quickly with less pain and disability and are discharged from the hospital sooner than patients who have had "open" or traditional surgery.
 The Opsis Video DistalCam's technology was developed by Baxter's V. Mueller Division in conjunction with the Welch Allyn Company of Skaneatales Falls, N.Y. The system is now available to surn?s and hospitals worldwide and is manufactured and marketed by V. Mueller.
 An endoscope, which is inserted into the body during surgery, is known by a variety of names (c.g. laparoscope, arthroscope, gastroscope). Its circumference is similar to a dime's -- about 10 mm -- and it can be either rigid or flexible depending on the shape and location of the organ that must be examined. The scope contains a light source and a computer chip that transmits optical images to a camera. The camera processes the chip's signals and projects an enlarged picture of the organ on a video monitor that is viewed by the surgeon and operating-room staff. Specially designed instruments such as scissors and forceps are introduced into the body through other small incisions and are manipulated by the surgeon via remote control to cut, clamp and remove diseased tissue. Baxter, through its V. Mueller Division, also manufactures and markets a range of endoscopic surgical instruments.
 "Endoscopy has ushered in the second century of surgery," said Daniel P. Congreve of Saint Luke's Medical Center, Davenport, Iowa. "While traditional surgery will always be an important part of a surgical practice, endoscopic surgery is playing an increasingly significant role in helping surgeons and patients avoid the infections, pain, long recovery periods and scarring associated with open surgery. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy -- removal of the gallbladder -- is one type of surgery that has clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of endoscopic procedures."
 Last year, 80 percent of the 600,000 gallbladder removals completed in the United States were done laparoscopically.
 Endoscopy also is being used in a range of other surgical procedures; it has been used successfully in hysterectomies and other gynecological surgeries. World-renowned surgeons working at teaching and research institutions are studying endoscopy's effectiveness in major thoracic surgeries, including coronary-artery bypass procedures. The technology also has become a valuable diagnostic technique for oncologists serving millions of cancer patients.
 "One of the keys to future advances in endoscopic surgery is improved visualization," said Dr. Congreve. "Surgeons need to see better, clearer pictures to extend endoscopy's benefits to other types of procedures. The closer the scope's optical technology can be to the operational site, the clearer the picture will be and the more precise surgical techniques will become."
 The Opsis Video DistalCam system produces this desired degree of clarity by moving the endoscope's image-collecting chip, called the charged-coupled device, or CCD, to the area of the body that must be examined. Currently, an endoscope's CCD is located at the instrument's proximal end -- the end closest to the surgeon and farthest from the organ site. A series of delicate glass lenses are needed to carry light into the body and to project the organ's image back to the CCD and its camera processor. These lenses can dilute the light's intensity and distort the images and colors passing through them, making the surgeon's work more difficult. In addition, the glass lenses often break as the scope is moved and sterilized, limiting the instrument's durability and lifespan.
 The Opsis Video DistalCam system eliminates image degradation by placing the CCD at the scope's further -- distal -- end. Since the CCD is located at the surgical site, the image is transmitted directly through the endoscope back to the camera, eliminating the need for reflective glass lenses. Without the need for these lenses, scientists at Baxter and Welch Allyn were able to add a flexible rotating tip to the usually rigid endoscope. This tip can rotate a full 360 degrees, allowing surgeons to maneuver around organs during advanced procedures such as deep pelvic, gynecologic, bowel, gastric and thoracic surgeries.
 The endoscope is attached to the camera's light source and image- processor by one well-protected cable. In other systems, these and other components require several interfaces, each contributing to a loss of light intensity and image quality.
 Baxter and Welch Allyn began work on the system in 1991 and received U.S. 510K regulatory clearance in August 1993. The camera system is designed to be expanded and upgraded easily, a feature that is unique in the endoscopic marketplace. As endoscopic technology evolves, the ability to update a camera system easily and affordably will become increasingly important.
 "Our partnership with Welch Allyn has produced one of the most advanced surgical systems available today," said Michael A. Lynch, Baxter's director of marketing for Minimally Invasive Surgery, V. Mueller Division. "Surgeons, the OR staff and, most important, patients will directly benefit from the Opsis system's unique technology."
 Another example of Baxter's drive toward technological innovation is the company's three-dimensional (3-D) endoscopic camera system. The system, currently in development, will provide surgeons with the added depth-perception that is present during traditional surgery but absent in current endoscopic procedures that rely on two-dimensional images projected on a video screen. Welch Allyn is Baxter's partner in the development of the 3-D system, which is based on proprietary electronic optical technology developed by StereoGraphics Corporation of San Rafael, Calif. The companies expect the new 3-D system to be available to surgeons in 1994.
 The total potential market for endoscopic instruments is approximately $1 billion.
 Baxter Healthcare Corporation is the principle U.S. operating subsidiary of Baxter International Inc. Through its subsidiaries, Baxter is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of health-care products, systems and services. The company, based in Deerfield, offers products to health-care providers in nearly 100 countries and conducts research and development programs in biotechnology, cardiovascular medicine, diagnostics, renal therapy and other medical fields.
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 /CONTACT: Mary Curtin, 212-265-9150, for Baxter, or Geoffrey D. Fenton of Baxter, 708-948-3436/

CO: Baxter Healthcare Corporation ST: Illinois IN: HEA SU: PDT

TS -- NY055 -- 1099 10/12/93 12:28 EDT
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Date:Oct 12, 1993

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