Oct. 19, 2000 NEW YORK CITY -- Orthopaedic surgeons in the future will have "X-ray vision" of their patients with new technology allowing them to virtually "see inside" the body during surgery, Anthony M. DiGioia III, MD, announced here today.
"New computer assisted systems will give surgeons more tools to fix broken bones, replace joints and regrow cartilage," Dr. DiGioia reported at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' 10th annual Orthopaedics Update. "The result will be smaller incisions and improved patient care.
"The 'surgical toolbox of the future' will include navigation systems, robotic assisted devices and visualization technologies to plan, simulate and perform surgery, and even to evaluate the outcomes," said Dr. DiGioia, director, centers for medical robotics and computer assisted surgery, Carnegie Mellon University and UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) Shadyside Hospital, Pittsburgh.
"Three-dimensional modeling of the individual patient's anatomy will make the surgery even more patient-specific," he said. "During total joint replacement surgery, for example, we will be able to gauge implant alignment in real time during the surgery and readjust its location and fit, all to the benefit of the patient."
The surgical toolbox of the future will include systems to:
* deliver biological and tissue-engineered therapies.
* provide the exact location of bones and surgical instruments during surgery.
* simulate the effect of the surgical procedure on the patient-- before surgery is performed.
* provide three-dimensional views during surgery to make the procedure even more precise and less invasive.
* display X-ray images or any digital images over the body part that the surgeon is working on.
"With these surgical information systems, the surgeon will have preoperative plans and computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans readily available as part of the operating room field," noted Dr. DiGioia. "All of this clinical information will be available to surgeons when we need it the most-- during surgery!"
He said that these "smart tools" have application in joint reconstruction, spine, sports medicine and all other subspecialties of orthopaedics. "These tools will enhance our ability to develop new surgical techniques to further improve patient care," said Dr. DiGioia.
"Today, we have the first generation of robotic and navigation technologies which do one or several specific tasks," he said. "Tomorrow, we will have a whole new generation of computer assisted tools which will compliment and enhance our skills as surgeons to benefit our patients."
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