Orthopedic Technology Innovations
Jennie Wilson, 65, is among the thousands of patients who have undergone orthopedic surgery abroad. Last summer, she had knee replacement surgery in India and she is very satisfied with the result. Five years back, Jennie had difficulty to walk and also had swelling and pain in her legs caused by bone-on-bone rubbing in both knees. “I knew that knee replacement is the only solution, but and could not find a surgeon to perform the procedure as I was categorized as a high-risk patient.” She continued her strive and finally connected with a surgeon in India. The surgeon said that their team takes on high-risk patients, as they utilize the latest technologies to minimize infection risk. The team performed robotic surgery that was precise and less invasive, resulting in a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery.
Like Jennie, numerous patients are getting benefits due to advanced orthopedic technology innovations. Let us discuss some of the major technologies used for orthopedic surgeries and how these are proving to be boon to the patients traveling abroad for treatment.
Patients planning to travel abroad for advanced orthopedic surgeries must have heard of Robotic Surgery. In 2000, the da Vinci Surgical System became the first FDA-approved robotic orthopedic procedure in the United States. After two decades, robotic technology has progressed further to provide better navigations during surgical procedures or to obtain 3D-scans that helps in designing customized joints. For the patients, the biggest advantages of robotic orthopedic surgery are:
- Smaller Incisions
- Less Invasive
- Reproducible Precision
- Shorter Hospital Stay
- Faster Recovery
Stem Cell- Orthobiologic Technologies
Human body cells have regenerative potential that can be harnessed with orthobiologics, which are formed from naturally found substances in the body. These are used for improving the healing of injured muscles, broken bones, tendons and ligaments. Orthobiologics include stem cells, growth factors, bone grafts, platelet-rich plasma, autologous conditioned serum and autologous blood.
Another substance that works excellently to develop desired results is the Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) that are found in the bone marrow. The biggest benefit of using such orthobiologic or stem cell-based technologies is faster recovery where the healing process is accelerated due to the growth factors present in such stem cell-based strategies. The technology of regenerative medicines is unparalleled, as stem cells self-regenerate and differentiate into any type of cells.
Take a look at some of the orthopedic conditions that can be treated using stem cells:
- Ligaments and tendons
- Bone fractures
- Articular cartilage
- Back pain due to degeneration of intervertebral discs
- Spinal care
- Joint replacements
Periprosthetic infection is one of the major problems in orthopedic practice. Smart sensor-enabled implants have the potential to reduce such infection and thus prove to be extremely beneficial for the patients opting for orthopedic surgery. These implants include embedded sensors that help the surgeons to get real-time information to ensure accurate positioning and post-operative evaluation as well. For example, during total knee arthroplasty, surgeons use smart knee implant for optimizing joint balance. These products are highly useful, cost-effective and reduce the risk of infection. Thus, patients receive better results that are safe and affordable.
Improvement of Surgical Procedures
The latest technology innovations are also helping in new orthopedic surgical procedures. For example, cement-less joint replacements, tissue-guided surgeries, motion preservation techniques and minimally invasive surgeries are witnessing an increase in demand.
- Cement-less Knee Replacements- These components are made from a coating or crystals with small holes. When such a component is used, bone grows and bonds directly with it. This bond lasts much longer than cement.
- Tissue-guided Surgeries- To fit an implant, the patient’s own anatomy gives cue during a tissue-guided surgery. A pressurized mechanism is used in such a procedure that indicates exactly how much bone needs to be shaved.
- Motion preservation Techniques- This technique is useful for total or partial disc replacement. Using devices with dynamic stabilization and interspinous spacers ensure mobility is not compromised.
- Minimally invasive Surgery- In traditional techniques, 12-centimeter incision is generally required. Technologically advanced tools such as computer-aided navigation, tubular retractors and endoscopes ensure only a 2-centimeter incision required for similar orthopedic surgery. Such techniques are gaining popularity among patients who need spinal surgery or hip or knee replacements.
3D Printing Solutions
3D printing is one of the highly-used technologies in orthopedics. Such technology leads to implant stability, reduced surgery time and better clinical outcomes. For example, surgical precision is improved when polymer printing technologies are used for customized surgical guides. Also, customized implants can be created for patients that lead to better integration between bone and metal.
Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Innovations
3D imaging or surgical imaging systems and navigation assist surgeons to plan, evaluate and execute surgeries with more perfection than traditional techniques. For example, intraoperative imaging and instrument tracking technologies track instruments accurately about the anatomy of the patient. This ensures better outcomes and long-term benefits.
Technology innovations are making way for intelligent orthopedics. These are helping to design personalized solutions resulting in safety, cost-saving and reduced time. If you are planning to receive an orthopedic surgery abroad, check how technological advancements can provide more benefits than the traditional procedures.
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