Maine Medical Center to begin construction on operating room expansion

This rendering, submitted to the Portland Planning Board by representatives of Maine Health, depict a 40,000-square-foot expansion of Maine Medical Center in Portland. The expansion will house surgical suites and preparation areas.
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This rendering, submitted to the Portland Planning Board by representatives of Maine Health, depict a 40,000-square-foot expansion of Maine Medical Center in Portland. The expansion will house surgical suites and preparation areas. Buy Photo
Posted Feb. 11, 2014, at 5 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine Medical Center has won state approval for a $40 million plan to expand and update several of the hospital’s operating rooms.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ certificate of need unit announced the approval late Monday, paving the way for construction to begin, according to a news release from the hospital. The project already has city approval.

The expansion project at MMC’s Bramhall Street campus is designed to help the hospital accommodate surgeries that are increasing in volume and complexity, according to hospital officials. It would add five new operating suites and accompanying preparation and recovery areas on the rooftop of the hospital’s existing Bean building. It also would update the area where surgical equipment is prepared and sterilized for delivery to operating rooms and allow the hospital to develop an operating room dedicated to advanced heart surgeries.

The project is scheduled to wrap up in 2015.

MMC performs approximately 28,000 surgeries each year in its 34 operating rooms. The hospital’s operating rooms are utilized at a significantly higher rate than industry standards, according to the release.

“Alleviating some of these capacity pressures will allow us to provide emergency interventions without having to move or delay scheduled procedures,” Brad Cushing, MMC’s chief of surgery, said in the release.

MMC performs approximately one-third of all inpatient surgeries in the state and 45 percent of interventional cardiology procedures, which involve inserting catheters into the heart to treat disease, the release states.

The added space will better allow MMC to perform a cutting-edge operation offered as an alternative to traditional open heart surgery that requires both a cardiologist and a heart surgeon to be in the room at the same time, along with their staff, the hospital has said. MMC is the only hospital in the state offering the procedure, called a transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

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