'It's the latest and greatest:' Columbia St. Mary's unveils $5.2M hybrid operating room

MILWAUKEE -- Beyond the wires, tubes and operating room lights, Ascension Columbia St. Mary's is growing its heart care services with a new hybrid operating room.

"It's big," said Dr. Brad Stair, interventional cardiologist.

Columbia St. Mary's hybrid OR

Unveiled in April, the new hybrid OR was built from a $5.2 million investment.

Dr. Brad Stair

"Everybody wants to do something in here, because it's the latest and greatest," said Dr. Stair.

The state-of-the art space combines a traditional operating room with an image-guided interventional suite, allowing doctors to switch gears in the midst of an operation, without transporting a patient to a different room.

"This room allows us the flexibility to offer a whole gamut of procedures and operations in this room at that time," said Dr. Stair.

Equipment also gives doctors and nurses an in-depth look at procedures.

Columbia St. Mary's hybrid OR

"We wanted to make sure there were monitors scattered about the room," Dr. Stair said.

Columbia St. Mary's hybrid OR

One of those procedures is called "TAVR."

"Trans-catheter aortic valve replacement," said Dr. Stair.

Far less invasive than open heart surgery, this option was introduced at the hospital in 2019.

"We do this procedure through the leg vessels," said Dr. Stair. "As we blow up the balloon, the valve expands, pushes the old valve off to the side, and the new valve immediately starts working."

They're able to expand valves -- and increase outcomes for patients.

"It opens up a whole new world for us to do new things for our patients," Dr. Stair said.

Capabilities for the space go beyond heart care services, and also expand to other departments -- including neurology and radiology.

Columbia St. Mary's hybrid OR