ich Ritsma, Editor-in-cheif

SheerVision's FireFly Infinity LED Surgical Headlight delivers powerful, hands-free illumination to the OR.
Proper lighting in the operating room has always been of extreme importance. Without appropriate illumination during a surgical procedure, the surgeon is essentially flying blind; unable to properly see the surgical site or at the very least having difficulty differentiating between tissue masses. As such, surgical lighting systems have been a critical component of surgical suites since the dawn of electricity.

While overhead surgical lighting systems can usually provide adequate illumination for most surgical procedures, there are certain instances where more focused and easily controlled lighting is required. In such cases, surgical headlights can deliver a number of benefits to the surgeon. Surgical headlights are worn directly on the surgeon's head, either mounted on a headband or attached to surgical loupes or glasses. As a result, the light being emitted from the headlight follows the surgeon's line of site, delivering a spot of bright light directly where he or she is looking.

With the light mounted on the surgeon's head and thus directed precisely into even the smallest surgical incisions, headlights leave the surgeon's hands free. In addition, should the surgeon need to lean in closer to the surgical site or position himself over the patient, the light will not be obstructed, as can happen with overhead lighting systems.

Most traditional surgical headlight systems require a cable to be run from the light to a free-standing light source or to a power outlet. In recent years, advances in fiber optics and Xenon lighting technology have made light sources and headlights more efficient and comfortable for the surgeon, while delivering higher quality, brighter illumination. Here is a look at some of the most advanced and popular systems currently on the market.

Traditional Surgical Headlights
The ProXenon 350 Surgical Illuminator and Headlight System from Welch Allyn is lightweight, comfortable and user-friendly.
Welch Allyn (Skaneateles Falls, NY), a leading manufacturer of frontline medical products and solutions, introduced their innovative ProXenon 350 Surgical Illuminator and Headlight System late last year. A durable, user-friendly device, the ProXenon offers superior comfort, rapid lamp change, extended lamp life and superior lux. The ProXenon 350 Surgical Illuminator, which provided the light to the headlight system, features and ergonomically-improved design and a unique angled control surface that allows its operator to see and access controls more easily.

The ProXenon Surgical Headlight offers a smaller, more lightweight alternative to many of the others options presently on the market. The ProXenon’s smaller luminaire size is much less perceptible to the surgeon, reducing fatigue and making the device easier to place between surgical loupes. This innovative headlight was designed from the ground up to project a larger spot of light at normal working distance (120 mm at 16 inches) without sacrificing the critical brightness.

The headlight is mounted on the ProXenon system’s CoolVent Headband. This headband features strategically placed perforations, which allow free airflow and moisture evaporation for improved comfort during lengthy surgical procedures. The disposable, moisture-wicking, open-cell foam pad set ensures a clean, dry and comfortable fit with every use. As an added convenience, the ProXenon system’s mobile stand comes equipped with a bracket that holds a dispenser pack of replacement CoolVent pad sets, providing surgeons with a new, clean headband with every use.

LuxteL's IsoLux Surgical Headlight product line offers surgeons the choice of either a dual ratchet or washable cloth fiber optic headband set.
The IsoLux surgical headlight product line from LuxteL, llc (Danvers, MA) offers surgeons a choice of either a dual ratchet or washable cloth fiber-optic headband set; both providing maximum illumination and comfort. The IsoLux surgical headlights are soft, flexible and ergonomically contoured for maximum comfort, with sweat pads of detachable and replaceable plush cushioning foam. The sculptured ratchet-type knobs provide quick and easy circumferential and crown adjustments prior to or during surgical procedures. The lightweight design with bi-furcated fiber optic cable ensures even weight distribution for comfort and reduced fatigue. They are available with 105-degree and 90-degree declination angles to assure the most comfortable surgical stance.

The IsoLux headlights are equipped with the standard Wolf connection or an optional universal connector with attachments. The IsoLux lights partner with xenon illuminators in three power ranges (300W, 180W and 125W), all harnessing the power of LuxteL’s CeraLux Xenon Lamps. Options range from the higher output 300W and 180W multi-port systems with the versatility of accepting ACMI, Olympus, Storz and Wolf fiber cables to the compactly sized and cost effective single port 180W and 125W systems.

Sunoptics Surgical (Jacksonville, FL) offers a complete line of state-of-the-art illumination products for the operating room and office-based surgical procedures. The TITAN UltraGrip Dual Adjustment Headlight System provides bright illumination and superior performance that is ideal for the OR. The headlight system’s patented and aesthetically appealing design is lightweight and comfortable, allowing it to be used in long procedures. The TITAN delivers among the brightest illumination currently available as well as an impressive 140-mm spot size. The unique UltraGrip Handle provides the benefits of easy cable removal, aids against fiber damage and reduces the temperature of the cable end tip for increased safety. The headlight system is designed to be used with the company’s precedent-setting TITAN 400 Watt Xenon Light Source.

Sunoptics Surgical's TITAN UltraGrip Dual Adjustment Headlight System provides bright illumination and superior performance.
Sunoptics Surgical fiber optic products are based on an extensive knowledge of glass types and characteristics that ensures optimized performance. In order to ensure safe operation even at high temperatures, Sunoptics Surgical has developed a unique end termination process in which no adhesive is used. Instead, the fiber ends are fused together in a process combining heat with pressure. Fibers made of multi-component glass are embedded at the same time in a stainless steel ferrule.

The High Beam TriLens fiber optic surgical headlight from BFW, Inc. (Louisville, KY) combines comfort and adjustability, bringing increased versatility to the operating room. At a 16-inch working distance, this headlight system provides an adjustable spot that covers twice the area of many other headlights currently on the market.

Known for its clarity and brilliance, the High Beam is equipped with a 4.75-mm cable that contains approximately 9,000 fiber optic strands. This amounts to nearly a third more fibers than most other headlights in its class. Despite the density of the fibers, the cable remains lightweight because of its unique Opaque Blue durable and subtle sheath.

The distinctively low profile High Beam provides brilliant uniform light and is available in two styles: Classic and Sport. Both are lightweight and offer superior comfort. The Classic, mounted onto BFW’s fully adjustable, sturdy, molded headband, weighs about six ounces, while the Sport, mounted on a Breath-o-Prene and Velcro headband, weighs in at only about four ounces.

BFW's High Beam TriLens Fiber Optic Surgical Headlight brings comfort and adjustability to the OR.
The High Beam is compatible with most loupe oculars and most U.S. made light sources. It is adjustable from the forehead to the tip of the nose. A removable positioning bar can be sterilized and offers the surgeon hands-on manipulation of the optic during a surgery.

The White Sun Surgical Headlight from Products for Medicine (Anaheim, CA) provides brilliant illumination at a fraction of the size, weight and price of most other headlights. The White Sun’s optic weighs a mere 44 grams and is connected to the light source via a 3mm fiber cable. This lightweight and compact design allows the operator to use the White Sun Headlight during long procedures without neck or back fatigue.

The White Sun Xenon Light Source provides illumination to the headlight that is extremely bright and cool. Its Digital LED readout eliminates the guess work in trying to find the surgeon’s desired illumination output. The light source comes with a complete three-year warranty and a 1000-hour lamp life warranty.

LED Surgical Headlights
While traditional surgical headlights are still among the most widely used around the world, LED (light emitting diode) technology has developed to the point that it can deliver equally bright and focused light without tethering the surgeon to a light source. Often relying on battery packs that can easily be worn on the surgeon's belt, LED surgical headlights provide cool, bright light as well as the freedom to move about the operating room. Here are a few of the cutting edge systems that are moving LED technology into the OR.

Enova Medical Technologies (St. Paul, MN) was at the forefront of introducing LED headlights for use in the surgical field. Their Halo Cordless LED Surgical Headlight is powerful enough for virtually any operating room application. Powered with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, the Halo delivers bright, cool light that provides greater color and tissue differentiation than standard headlight systems. With its cordless feature, the Halo eliminates the need to tether the surgeon to a fiber optic cable and a bulky power supply, reducing operating room logistical issues and overall maintenance for the surgical center. The Halo system is available in two models: the Halo 5000 that provides 55,000 lux of cool, bright light and the Halo 6000 that delivers 65,000 lux output. The Halo LEDs last over 10,000 hours, translating to upwards of 10 years of continuous use.

The Aura LED Surgical Headlight from SKYTRON utilizes powerful, dual LED light sources that optimize surgeon vision clarity and comfort.
In May 2007 Enova expanded their line of LED headlights with the IRIS and IRIS Ultra-Lite surgical headlights. The devices utilize the newest generation of LED illumination technology optimized for use in the surgical operating room. They have a crizal coated front lens and proprietary reflector technology that deliver light output upwards of 100,000 lux. The IRIS can be completely cordless with batteries attached directly to the headset (17 oz.) or powered with a belt pack (11 oz.). The IRIS Ultra-Lite weighs less than nine ounces with a battery powered belt pack.

In addition to these innovative products, Enova recently brought a new light and improved technology to their product line. Their newest headlight, the IRIS Duo 200, delivers over 200,000 lux, which is equivalent to fiber optic headlight systems. The company has also developed a new digital controlled battery pack with a battery capacity indicator and continuous infinite light intensity capabilities. The battery packs provide up to eight hours of continuous battery per charge depending on the light intensity and model being used.

Another new addition to the LED headlight market is the Aura LED Surgical Headlight from Skytron (Grand Rapids, MI). The Aura LED utilizes powerful, dual LED light sources that optimize surgeon vision clarity and comfort and offers superior freedom of movement around the entire surgical field. The new headlight’s LED light sources are powered by a lightweight and comfortable belt battery pack that eliminates the need to be tethered to a traditional light source. The Aura LED provides superior lighting efficiency, control and flexibility for every procedure with bright, high intensity LEDs and cool beam temperature.

KARL STORZ Endoscopy-America brings the latest in LED Technology to its adjustable headlights.
KARL STORZ Endoscopy-America, Inc. (Culver City, CA) has incorporated the latest LED technology into its comfortable, fully adjustable headlights. Delivering far more light to the operative field than conventional headlights, KARL STORZ LED Headlights provide brightness of up to 50,000 lux. The white light produced allows tissue structures to be recognized in their true colors. The luminous field can be focused, offering adjustability from 10 to 100 mm at a working distance of 40 cm. With a soft, flexible headband, the headlight can provide unrestricted mobility with an integrated battery light source, making separate light sources, cables and mains connections unnecessary.

In addition to their IsoLux product line, LuxteL, llc, recently released the IsoLED Headlight, which has been designed for both examination and minimally invasive surgeries, with LEDs close coupled to the optics for a uniform, focused light. The system is powered by a portable, a rechargeable lithium ion battery pack that enables portability and brightness control from three to 100 percent. The IsoLED system offers up to 650K lux of 10,000K cool white light with a life expectancy of 50,000 hours and comes complete with the battery pack, charger and a belt mounted control pack. Easy on the neck and with no tether to a tower, IsoLED ensures total freedom of movement for the surgeon.

The Products for Medicine White Sun Surgical Headlight provides brilliant illumination at a fraction of the size, weight and price of most other headlights.
The FireFly Infinity LED Surgical Headlight from SheerVision, Inc, (Rolling Hills Estates, CA) is another recent addition to the growing market. The FireFly Infinity is a portable headlight that provides 54,000 Lux / 5,000 foot candles of light, outperforming many tethered fiber optic lights, without the high maintenance costs. With ultra-lightweight comfort and superior light uniformity the Infinity delivers affordability and convenience in a single package. It featuring hands-free, powerful illumination and includes two five-hour lithium-polymer batteries and a rapid charger. For added convenience, the FireFly Infinity fits any manufacturers’ loupes or can be mounted on a headband.