Aleksandra Rachitskaya, MD: Novel Imaging and Surgical Techniques

October 16, 2019

Aleksandra Rachitskaya, MD, of Cole Eye Institute, discusses a presentation she led at AAO 2019 on novel imaging and surgical techniques.

Mixed in with the massive screens and eye-catching displays of the various companies use to represent their brand or product at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2019 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, a number of organizations and hospital networks set up booths for smaller sessions led by their physicians.

One of those organizations was the Cole Eye Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, who hosted 2 special session per day on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at their booth during the conference.

Discussions led by their physicians were on topics ranging from management of endothelial keratoplasty complications to updates in refractive surgery and cross-linking. Aleksandra Rachitskaya, MD, a staff physician at Cole Eye Institute, gave presentation on novel imaging and surgical visualization techniques.

While these sessions may not have drawn the same attendance as the late breaking sessions, clinicians presenting and in attendance both emphasized the importance of presentations like those given by Rachitskaya.

For more on her presentation and why it is important to stay up-to-date on novel imaging and surgical visualization techniques, MD Magazine® sat down Rachitskaya between her sessions to hear her opinion.

MD Mag: What were the key takeaways from your presentation on novel imaging and surgical techniques?

Rachitskaya: So, here at the Academy I had a privilege to talk about some novel imaging techniques that we use both in the clinic and in the operating room—as well as some of the new techniques of how we actually operate. So, in particular I focused on OCT angiography and how useful it can be in clinic when you have a patient that might present was more of a complex presentation and when you need to see if there is a choroidal vascular membrane. I find that particularly helpful in those cases. I also talked about using intraoperative OCT in cases where I find it benefits the patients and improve patient care. For example, I showed a patient where there was a small macular hole that was discovered in a retinal detachment because we did intraoperative OCT that was not appreciated on preoperative imaging and also I talked about using 3D visualization—where you can have improved ergonomics, improved teaching, as well as pretty outstanding view of the macula for macula work. So, I focused on that and I also introduced the idea of gene therapy and how we can utilize all these modalities for patients that might need gene therapy. There has been big strides in the gene therapy world and there's a lot of ongoing trials that hopefully will have some exciting results that could benefit our patients.

MD Mag: Why is it important to monitor advances in imaging and surgical techniques?

Rachitskaya: I think that's a very good point, right. I haven't been in practice for that long and the way I take care of patients has changed in the span of 5 years and I think it's very exciting to be practicing at a time where we do have these new modalities and we're studying and providing evidence-based reasons why these modalities are important. So, whether they are allowing us to diagnose the patient better or whether they changed the treatment course. I think all of the modalities that I mentioned OCTA, intraoperative OCT really do benefit patient care and also we want to teach the new generations and I think 3D viewing is very helpful in that because when I'm operating in the OR and I use 3D viewing and not only the trainees but also all my whole staff including the scrub tech and even anesthesiology sometimes can participate in the experience and the scrub tech and then anticipate what I need next because she can see the surgery she is immersed in it. So, I think it's really the advancements that are happening and being here at academy there's so much exciting staff happening it really takes our patient care to the next level.