Hawke's Bay Hospital has invested $929,000 for six new laparoscopic surgery towers.

Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure in which a fibre-optic instrument is inserted through the abdominal wall to view the organs in the abdomen or permit small-scale surgery.

HBDHB board meeting papers state the new towers include state-of-the-art technology and will mean fewer surgeries will be postponed because of maintenance issues.

They will also enable theatres to operate without having to stagger surgeries due to lack of laparoscopic equipment. The improved technology will also enable more complex surgery.

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The new units, used during laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery, are a major improvement on the towers they replaced.

General surgeon Bernie McEntee said: "We are extremely pleased with the new technology and the way it operates."

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Clinical nurse manager theatre Mary Ann Henderson said the newer technology was providing them with superior screen visuals.

"This gives the surgeons better views and therefore information to work with when operating on patients."

Clinical engineering manager Steyn Van Der Spuy agreed and said it was imperative to keep abreast of new technologies "and replace clinical equipment as its life ends to enable us to provide the very best outcomes for patients that we can.

"While the older versions were adequate, they were coming to the end of their life, requiring maintenance to be scheduled more and more often to keep them operational.

"And these new models are far superior to the standard definition we had on the previous ones."

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They have a similar life expectancy as those they replaced – about 10 years.

Laparoscopic surgery is able to be increasingly used across a range of specialities including cancer, emergency and orthopaedic surgery.

When possible, it is preferred by surgeons and patients.

The advantages include decreased pain and discomfort for patients after surgery, the generally lower rate of postoperative complications, and shorter hospital stays, which can mean a same day discharge after some procedures.

The changeover went like "clockwork", with installation, implementation and staff training held during late June.

The towers "went live" on July 3, with supplier Medipak/Storz having its technicians on site for the first week of operation.