What is video integration in the operating room ?

Through OR video integration, a multitude of imaging systems and devices can be managed centrally to display surgical images more precisely, while making workflow more efficient and achieving more flexibility in the operating room. Video integration changes the way surgeons and clinicians share and view information in operating rooms.

OR video integration: AV vs IP

Audiovisual (AV) solutions have been used for many years but require a large amount of cabling and complex configurations in order to secure full integration in the OR. That’s why IP solutions – which are built on the IP network – are becoming more popular. Whereas AV solutions are fairly static and resistant to new video standards, IP solutions are extremely flexible. They require just one universal cable to distribute any audio, video and data signal.

Medical device management over IP with Barco Nexxis

OR video integration allows clinicians to share surgical video from and to anywhere. In this picture, video sources can be selected via a user interface and displayed on different surgical displays in the operating room.

Compressed vs uncompressed

When using an IP-based OR video integration system, network latency can slow down video and image downloads. To counter that, some systems apply various forms of image compression. This is not recommended in surgical imaging because compression always leads to quality loss and image artefacts when transferring images. 

Uncompressed imaging

Compressed imaging

Uncompressed video captures every detail, which is vital during image-guided surgery. Images and data are always correct, and there’s no delay due to reconstruction of data. In the operating room, it is recommended for both primary and secondary video distribution.

What are the benefits of OR video integration over IP?

Centralized display of all information

  • Routing of 4K and HD video signals to anywhere in and even outside the operating room, without hindrance of point-to-point cabling
  • Artifact-free images distributed with near-zero latency via optical fiber
  • Remote management of devices for increased OR uptime
  • Enables multiple layouts, according to surgeon preferences

Avoiding risk of failure

  • No need for extra connectors, splitters and other components 
  • Fewer components result in fewer points of failure 
  • Reduced clutter in the OR, minimizing error and shortening the learning/adoption curve 
  • Galvanic isolation and ruggedized cables ensure uninterrupted data transmission

Future-proofing the OR

  • Easy integration via plug-and-play of devices
  • Supports many modalities and image types
  • Switching to 4K video requires no upgrading to video distribution infrastructure (cabling)


IP-based OR video integration has proven to reduce complexity in today’s operating rooms. By offering a standard architecture, it simplifies installation and set-up times in the OR. Remote capabilities offer additional efficiency benefits. What’s more, IP-based video integration enables backward compatibility with current systems as well as compatibility with new technologies as techniques for surgery evolve. 

OR integration systems that distribute video in raw, uncompressed format, with no latency, are preferred for surgical imaging, as they deliver the high image quality and transmission speed needed for image-guided surgery.