If you read this blog regularly then you will know that we are quite enthusiastic about the role of technology in the future of orthopedics. With new developments in technology come new advancements in medicine, and this is particularly true of orthopedic medicine. A fantastic new innovation is currently being explored and it is believed it could completely revolutionise how surgeons conduct surgery. Using robots in the operating room might sound like the stuff of science fiction but it is a very real universal possibility that is inching ever closer to reality.
In fact, there are already two robotic orthopedic surgeons in Southwest Louisiana that can now conduct certain surgeries. It is believed that the expertise of these robots means they are able to operate with an amazing level of precision that is just not possible for human surgeons to achieve. These robots have been labelled as RIO (Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System) and are the creation of Stryker Orthopaedics. At the present time, they are only being involved in hip and knee replacements. However, the results so far have been fantastic and there is of course the potential that they could expand this involvement to other surgeries soon.
You may be wondering how the robots are able to achieve such a high level of precision and the answer is simple! They are programmed with a surgical plan before the surgery begins that is created with 3D technology and CT scans. This gives the robot concise instructions on what to do, when to do it and where!
A patient who underwent a hip replacement using the robotic technology spoke afterwards of how she felt it was a less invasive surgery and also that less recovery time was required afterwards. It took this patient just two days after her surgery before she was able to walk out of the hospital and back to her own home. The patient was a 69 year old woman who feels she is practically back to full function.
The robotic technology created by RIO has FDA approval for the two surgeries that they are currently allowed to perform. It is thought that by the Spring of 2016 this will have changed with more surgeries being approved of. Experts have predicted that within five years nearly all joint replacement surgeries will be available with RIO. This will of course mean amazing things for patients in terms of the results they can expect and will allow clinics to offer a greater amount of choice to the patients who come to them.