Nov 15, 2018

5 more factors that impact video quality in the operating room

Medical Imaging & workflows 2 min read last updated on: Jun 15, 2022

In surgical imaging, it’s vital that video and images are of the highest possible quality. The surgeon and surgical staff rely on them to make reliable medical decisions, especially with the rise of minimally invasive surgery.

In a previous article, I discussed a first set of imaging features that define video quality in the operating room. These included display resolution, scaling and aspect ratio, the process of deinterlacing, frame rate, and chroma subsampling. Still, there are many other factors that impact the quality of video content. Let’s take a look: 

1. Color gamut 

For surgical imaging, the BT.709 color gamut is recommended for Full HD video. BT.2020 is the widest available color gamut and is recommended for 4K-UHD. The camera defines the color gamut of an image. However, the display used to view the images should be configured to use the same color gamut as the source. It’s the only way to ensure the most accurate colors on screen.  

2. Viewing angle

Color images and contrast should remain impeccable, even when a surgeon looks at the screen from an angle. At Barco, we select the best panels with special technologies to ensure that images can be viewed from anywhere around the operating table, without distortions. 

3. Color depth & calibration 

Video solutions in the OR should support 10-bit images to make sure all sources are supported in their maximum color depth. Surgical displays should be calibrated at the manufacturer to make sure that every image will look the same on every display, whether inside or outside the operating room.  

4. Dithering 

When a 10-bit video source is sent over a video interface that only supports 8 bit, dithering can be applied. This technique ensures that an average image will look like an image of 10 bit, even if the interface only supports 8 bit.  

5. Compression & latency 

There are many forms of image compression, from lossy to lossless and visually lossless. But in every case, some information gets lost. That’s why video in the operating room should be distributed without compression. Only uncompressed video is pixel-perfect. And because there is no need to reconstruct data, there will be no delay or latency. 

Interested in more?

There are many specs that affect image quality in the operating room. At the same time, the entire imaging system needs to be looked at. This means you’ll need to consider the performance of endoscopy or laparoscopy cameras, surgical displays, and the video integration system. Only then, you’ll be able to guarantee high-quality video content from start to end. Read our white paper on Video quality in the digital OR for more insights or visit

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