Rouge Valley opens high-tech, minimally-invasive surgical suite

Rouge Valley Health System has just opened its new Minimal Access Surgery (MAS) suite, combining state-of-the-art equipment and expertise, allowing residents of west Durham and east Toronto to recover more quickly following surgeries.”Gold standard Minimal Access Surgery is much less intrusive than traditional surgeries, which require larger incisions and longer recovery times,” says Dr. Jason Wong, surgeon in charge of MAS at Rouge Valley.

Rouge Valley is the only community hospital in the Greater Toronto Area to have a MAS Suite, which will be officially opened at 5 p.m., on Wednesday, April 6 at RVC. The $350,000 MAS Suite is essentially a high-tech system offering multi-screen video monitoring of operations performed through incisions as small as a half centimeter in length.

The Surgeon’s eyes

Using a micro-camera with its own light, live video images are available on three screens to surgeons and operating room staff during procedures.

The camera allows the surgeon to view and access internal organs without the need for a larger incision.

Many appendectomies, gallbladder procedures, removal of kidneys, spleens, adrenal glands and ovaries and ovarian cysts, hiatus hernia repairs, biopsies, bowel resections and other procedures are now performed in Rouge Valley’s MAS Suite.

There are several benefits to patients as a result of this new technology.

The procedure allows patients to recover more quickly from this “keyhole surgery,” so nicknamed because of the small incisions it allows, explains Dr. Wong. MAS patients experience fewer infections and less scarring.

The suite also helps Rouge Valley fulfill its ongoing commitment to bring the latest in excellent healthcare, and related technology, closer to its communities.

Patients from Durham and east Toronto communities have access to MAS procedures closer to home.

Dr. Wong also sees major educational benefits and expects a mentorship program to begin in the hospital to help train surgeons in minimal access surgical techniques. “By improving our collective skills in minimal access surgery, we can offer this beneficial technique to more people.”

What is it exactly?

The MAS Suite, by the Stryker Corporation, includes:

  • Central control station, touch panel interface controlling images, audio and data
  • Three high resolution flat-panel monitors displaying pictures from one five-milimetre digital video scope camera, placed inside the patient
  • A built-in light on the high-definition digital camera;
  • Voice activation, allowing nurses and doctors to control the system remotely
  • Digital documentation, converting still images, video and dictation to a CD, DVD or network allowing information to be stored in the greatest of detail
  • Connectivity of the operating room to any connected location inside or outside of the hospital
  • Ceiling-mounted lights.


Minimal Access Surgery procedures available at Rouge Valley Health System include: lap cholecystectomy, lap inguinal herniorrhaphy, lap appendectomy, laparascopy (diagnostic), lap ovarian cystectomy, hysterectomy, lap fundoplication, lap bowel resection, lap splenectomy, lap adrenalectomy, lap nephrectomy, lap vaginal, thoracoscopic pleurectomy and thoracoscopic lung biopsy/resection.

Patient benefits

Patient benefits of the MAS Suite:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Less post-operative discomfort or pain because of the smaller incisions
  • Faster recovery
  • Less scarring
  • Earlier return home and to work.

Other Facts

  • MAS Suite went into use in December 2004
  • More than 100 surgery patients a month benefit from the RVHS MAS Suite
  • RVHS is the only community GTA hospital to have a MAS Suite, outside of downtown Toronto.


Much of the money for the $350,000 suite was donated through legacy gifts to the Rouge Valley Health System Foundation, reinforcing the importance of planned giving. Johnson and Johnson Inc. donated the cost for a high-tech nursing station in the suite, incorporating state-of-the-art computers that allow nursing staff and doctors to closely monitor patients during Minimal Access Surgery. An anonymous donor generously provided funding for a harmonic scalpel, which uses ultrasonic technology to improve surgical precision and reduce tissue damage and blood loss. Proceeds from last year’s Baton Rouge Valley Gala and a recent holiday mailout also helped.

Rouge Valley Health System consists of three mental health sites and two hospitals: Rouge Valley Centenary in east Toronto and Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering in Ajax.