18 new operating rooms coming to Avera McKennan


18 new operating rooms are coming to Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls.

11 of the new operating rooms will be operational by Monday; the seven others will come later.

“We’re continuing to grow in surgery, and we’ve been very short of space in our operating rooms,” said Mary Leedom, assistant vice president for surgery at Avera McKennan. “Patients have trusted us with their care; we’ve needed more space.”

“The farther away the people who are not directly involved in the surgery, the better for the patient,” Avera McKennan neurosurgeon Dr. Wissam Asfahani said. “So you don’t want your circulating nurse close to the sterile fields; you want them far away. You don’t want your anesthesia machines, you want a little bit farther from where you’re operating; it allows better safety for the patient.”

According to Leedom, an Airo CT scanner is the only one in North or South Dakota.

“We can move it from room to room to room,” Leedom said. “It’ll be used primarily with spinal surgery and cranial surgery. It can also be used in trauma.”

“So what we do is, if we’re operating on the spine of a patient, for example, we can get a scan of the patient’s spine while he is laying on the bed,” Dr. Asfahani said.

Avera McKennan Director of Surgery Sandy King says these new operating rooms will also relieve the stress of going into surgery.

“The worst time for a patient is when they learn they have to go to the operating room,” King said. “It’s very nerve-wracking, and it’s a scary time, and so I think the environment that we have created here with these new 18 ORs will help allay some of those fears.”

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