Startup Spotlight: IDF Technology Saving Lives in the Operating Room

“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the place with flesh instead thereof.” (Genesis 2:21)

(Photo: National Cancer Institute)
(Photo: National Cancer Institute)

Surgery is a frightening prospect for a patient.  The risks can be high, but so can the dangers of not operating.  What if you knew the surgeon had had an opportunity to practice the surgery you needed, on a model based on your own anatomy?

That is the concept behind Surgical Theater’s Surgical Rehearsal Platform (SRP), an FDA-approved, patented surgery simulator.  Says Moty Avisar, president and co-founder of Surgical Theater, “We used to develop flight simulation for the Israeli Air Force, and felt that we needed to transfer our knowledge of building F-16 simulations to doing good for others by curing and saving lives.”

Avisar is a former Israeli Air Force R&D Officer with 20 years of leadership experience in large scale R&D Flight Simulators projects. Along with fellow officer and pilot Alon Geri, he started Surgical Theater, a privately held, Cleveland, Ohio-based startup.  To date, the company’s SRP is the only patented and FDA-cleared platform for neurosurgical pre-operative planning and rehearsal.

The SRP uses the patient’s own CT or MRI results to build a 3D model on which the surgical team can virtually “practice” the needed operation.  This allows surgeons to improve efficiency and reduce surgical time, as major decisions have been made ahead of time.  It has also been shown improve patient results, a much-desired benefit.

Surgical Theater has gotten off the ground with the help of crowdfunding platform OurCrowd, a unique investment platform which supports Israeli projects and startups.  According to Zack Miller, head of OurCrowd’s investor community “OurCrowd is the world’s biggest equity crowdfunding platform, offering individuals a better way to invest in the best Israeli and global startups.”

OurCrowd differs from other familiar entities, such as Kickstarter, in that it is not donation-based. Instead, OurCrowd’s investors take an active equity stake in the companies they invest in. Investors from all around the world looking to invest in Israel’s Startup Nation are now able to tap into the best Israeli innovation has to offer.

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Surgical Theater’s SRP can be used collaboratively, as well.  The collaborative theater connects SRPs from remote locations, “allowing surgeons in different locations to ‘step into’ the patient’s virtual model, to tele-mentor and work together on the patient’s case, jointly performing a virtual surgery and jointly making critical decisions before entering the operating room,” according to the company’s website.

While the SRP has been FDA-approved since February 2013, another product, the Surgical Navigation Advanced Platform, is awaiting clearance.  This product is designed to work alongside existing surgical navigation tools to provide “advanced imaging capabilities, including multiple 3D points of view that allow surgeons to view their case from a microscope perspective and in another view from behind the tumor.”

Israel has a reputation of having the best army in the world. Israeli innovation learned in the military is not only used to save lives on the battlefield, but off the battlefield as well.

Learn more about how you can take part in Israel’s miraculous startup economy by investing in companies like Surgical Theater by signing up at Ourcrowd.com