Surgeons with Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute are using six robotic systems to assist in knee replacement surgery.
The Orthopedic Institute has six robotic systems in place – three of the VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution from DePuy Synthes, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, and three of Stryker’s Mako SmartRobotics System – at select hospitals across Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN).
Robotic technology can assist a surgeon in precision cutting and balancing during surgery, the health network said.
The new robots give patients the most options in the region to receive robotic knee replacements, which results in less pain, less need for opiate analgesics, less need for inpatient physical therapy, reduction in length of hospital stay and improved knee flexion and soft tissue protection, resulting in better outcomes and faster return to normal activity, according to LVHN.
“The robot is an assistant that helps the surgeon fine-tune a knee replacement,” said Dr. Eric Lebby, orthopedic surgeon and chief, Division of Orthopedic Surgery, Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute.
“A car works best when the wheels are in perfect balance and alignment,” he said. “A computer helps the mechanic better align the wheels. The robotic system helps the surgeon fine-tune and balance the knee replacement. The robot can make a great surgeon even better.”
LVHN surgeons performed nearly 5,000 joint replacement surgeries last fiscal year (July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021), with the majority being partial- or full-knee replacements, LVHN said. That total is expected to increase in the current fiscal year (July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022), though volume in both years was likely slowed slightly by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Thomas Meade, Orthopedic Institute surgeon, said robotic-assisted joint replacement technology is at a point where it’s providing value to surgeons.
“The industry is ready now, and we felt determined to bring it to LVHN and the Orthopedic Institute,” he said. “This is all about improved patient outcomes. Benefits include less tissue damage, lower pain scores and a quicker recovery. There is more precision, more consistency and fewer outliers.”
The Mako and VELYS units add to LVHN’s current complement of 13 surgical robots used by more than 90 surgeons in more than a dozen surgical specialties.
“LVHN’s continued investment to acquire the latest surgical technologies shows our commitment to offer patients the best care possible,” said Dr. Michael Pasquale, interim physician in chief, Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute.
“Our surgical robotic program was established in 2008 and is one of the leading programs in the country,” he said.