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Personalized Orthopedic Surgery Just a Robot Away

New technologies are designed to improve outcomes of popular orthopedic surgeries

New York—October 11, 2010

A number of new technologies and surgical techniques promise to “personalize” orthopedic operations such as hip and knee replacements, according to research to be presented at an educational program at Hospital for Special Surgery on October 15 and 16. During “Computer Assisted Orthopaedic Surgery: Review of Emerging Technologies,” prominent orthopedic researchers will discuss how innovative technologies can improve surgical outcomes.

Improved surgical approaches that are more patient-specific, less invasive and that improve patient recovery could not come at a better time, according to Dr. Andrew D. Pearle, associate attending orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery. Reviewing the numbers of one common procedure that stands to gain from these technological advances – knee replacement surgery – is sobering. In 2007 alone, more than 600,000 knee replacements were performed in the United States. That number is projected to increase every year, with 1.5 million knee replacements in 2020 and possibly 3.5 million in 2030, just two decades from today. Currently knee replacement often results in a pain-free joint; however, the prosthetic joint usually does not function as well as a normal, nonarthritic knee.

“Innovative computer-based technologies will further improve surgeries that have been optimized using manual tools,” said Dr. Pearle.  “Newer techniques will improve the patient experience by increasing the durability of joint implants and by quickening the recovery time from less-invasive surgeries.”

Most of the technologies being presented at the educational session have been developed within the past decade, and surgeons around the country rely on these types of sessions to learn how well these new technologies fare in clinical practice and trials.

Some approaches such as interactive robotics and computer-assisted surgical navigation are already in limited use. Orthopedic surgeons will present data demonstrating how the newest technologies can further improve the accuracy and reliability of clinical judgments during technically challenging operations, such as knee resurfacing and total joint replacements.

Newer robotic systems allow surgeons to preoperatively plan highly accurate procedures for each patient based on individual bone structure and composition. Surgeons are then able to carry out orthopedic operations with precision that cannot be matched using only manual techniques.

“Many of these technologies inspire great enthusiasm within the orthopedic community, and we want to be sure that surgeons have the option to use the most promising and effective techniques in their practices,” he added. “We would like to offer innovations that are more patient-specific, require less invasive surgery, and provide better long-term outcomes.”

Sessions that Dr. Pearle believes will prove to be particularly enlightening and will figure prominently in the analysis of these emerging technologies include:

Friday, October 15, 2010

4:45 pm - 8:00 pm: Workshops on Robotics, Navigation, Custom Implants, Custom Jigs and Their Applications for Joint Replacements

Saturday, October 16, 2010

11:00 am: Preoperative Planning for Complex Reconstructions: The Hospital for Special Surgery Experience

11:40 am: Use of Navigation for Limb Realignment – Where Are We?

3:15 pm: Robotic Total Hip Replacement: Why, When and How




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