Health City surgeons use robotic technology

By Kelsey Jukam
Advanced robotic technology is giving orthopedic surgeons at Health City Cayman Islands a leg up in performing complicated knee surgeries.

Health City has recently joined hospitals around the world, such as the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic in the U.S., that can perform robotic-assisted orthopedic surgery, according to a press release from the hospital.

According to Health City’s senior consultant orthopedic surgeon Dr. Alwin Almeida, the hospital is one of the first in the Caribbean to have the “capability and expertise” to perform the computer-navigated surgeries.

“This technology has really changed the way surgeries are performed,” Dr. Almeida said in the press release. “With the acquisition of this advanced system we have taken orthopedic surgery to a different plane altogether.”

The technology has been in use worldwide for nearly a decade, but has only really taken off in the past three years as recent models have improved upon the initial systems, Dr. Almedia said. Health City has had the technology, a Stryker brand system, since February, and for the past two months every knee replacement surgery at the hospital has been a robotic-assisted surgery, he said.

The robotic system is comprised of a computer, advanced imaging software, cameras and sensors, which help guide surgeons as they plan surgeries and as they operate. While there is a robotic arm that can be attached to the system Health City uses, Dr. Almeida said, the arm is still in its experimental stages, and Health City does not use one.

“It reduces surgical errors and allows for more precise placement of implants and alignment and hence, a superior result,” Dr. Almeida said.

The surgeon, who has performed numerous procedures using computer-guided techniques, said this robotic system is most helpful in difficult primary surgeries and in correcting complex deformities associated with arthritic joints which need replacements.

“These operations would not be possible without the assistance of the computer with infrared sensors and active trackers, which re-creates a real time, 3-D model of the patient’s limb,” Dr. Almeida said.

He said that because the image of the area being operated on is displayed in real time, any movement of the patient’s limb is captured on screen.

“With this level of detail, the surgeon can be guided to where he or she should place his bone cuts and how much to balance the ligaments to achieve optimal surgical precision,” Dr. Almeida said. “The computer continues to monitor the rest of the surgery, and we can verify our technique and decisions at any step.” (Cayman Compass)

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