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Innovative Breakthroughs of Chi Mei Medical Center in Complex Surgeries and Electronic Larynx



The Chi Mei Health Care System/Chi Mei Medical Center has been providing healthcare education and free clinics in over 20 countries in South East Asia and Central America for 20 years. Chi Mei has provided professional training for medical personnel from various countries and has sent its own staff to El Salvador, where they spent two years training radiation oncology personnel for a national cancer prevention center in a country where cancer prevalence has continued to rise though resources remain scarce. Chi Mei is also adept at combining creativity with new technology for clinical applications. For example, they equipped a hybrid operation room with an ARTIS pheno and used it for complex surgeries other than cardiovascular ones. In the past, the very complex C1 and C2 fixation technique were mostly assisted with 2D images, which limited the surgeon's ability to completely analyze the patient's anatomical structure. Since introducing the ARTIS pheno which could capture 3D images from multiple angles to provide an accurate representation of the anatomical structure of the cervical vertebrae. The real-time tracking image allows the surgeon to insert the bone screw with precision and prevent complications. As this insertion technique is a first in Taiwan, Chi Mei hopes to promote this technique at the Taiwan Healthcare Expo, while also looking to conduct technical exchanges with countries such as Japan, where a similar technique is already in use.


Integrating Imaging Technology to Improve Effectiveness of Coronary Artery Stent Implantation


Since people, in general, feel nervous about the risks of surgery, Chi Mei is dedicated to developing technology that can replace or even surpass surgeries. The Chi Mei Cardiovascular Center combined OCT and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) with the existing premium dual-monitor vascular imaging system to increase the resolution of the images in the depth of the cardiovasculature by 100 times through effective integration of the technologies. As a result, the surgeon can accurately determine the composition of the plaque and the degree of calcification in coronary artery disease, which can be used to design a customized treatment plan for the patient. This buys more treatment time and improves the effectiveness of the implantation of the coronary artery stent. Since adopting the technique, the death rate due to cardiovascular diseases has significantly lowered, and the technique is gradually replacing the traditional cardiovascular bypass surgery with an improved public willingness to accept treatment.


Developing Brain Controlled Electronic Larynx to Restore the Dignity of Patients after Laryngectomy


When speaking of technologies that surpass the effectiveness of surgery, the electronic larynx developed at Chi Mei deserves a mention.  The developer was empathetic toward patients who could only speak with the help of a traditional speech aid and gradually lost their dignity due to the strange and unintelligible voicing of the manually-switched device.  Chi Mei then developed the electronic larynx, which could be controlled using brain signals with consideration for how the brain controls breathing and how the vocal cord worked, thus allowing the patient could control their voice at will. Even better, the electronic larynx could be worn without surgery and with the instrument hidden from sight, giving the patient his quality of life back. The developer stated that he hopes to interact with the technology industry through the Taiwan Healthcare Expo to improve the function of the electronic larynx as well as bringing it to the world stage to benefit patients from all over the world. 


(Editing by Nicole Yang, Research Center for Biotechnology and Medicine Policy)