How a robotic revolution will reduce the physical burdens of orthopedic surgery


Johnson & Johnson’s VELYS robotic system for orthopedic surgery [Image courtesy of Johnson & Johnson]

DePuy Synthes Global President of Joint Reconstruction, Andrew Ekdahl, thinks robot-assisted systems will be a big help for orthopedic surgeons who are busier than ever.

Innovations in surgical instruments and capabilities have dramatically increased the volume of procedures performed each day and increased the physical demands on orthopedic surgeons.

Many years ago, the busiest surgeons performed three orthopedic procedures a week, said Andrew Ekdahl, global president of joint reconstruction at DePuy Synthes. But now these busiest surgeons perform more than nine procedures a day, several days a week.

“The physical burden of orthopedics has increased dramatically. If we can do things to reduce that physical burden, that’s innovation,” Ekdahl said. Tom Salemi, DeviceTalks Weekly Podcast Host.

Surgical robots can help. Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Synthes received FDA clearance in January 2021 for the Velys robotic-assisted orthopedic surgical system for use with the Attune total knee implant. DePuy Synthes has joined other medical device companies that have entered the orthopedic surgical robot market in recent years to compete with Stryker and its Mako robots. Other recent entrants include the Navio Surgical System from Smith+Nephew and the Rosa Knee System from Zimmer Biomet.

The Velys system adapts to a surgeon’s workflow to give them the control needed to perform bone cuts efficiently and accurately. The table-mounted system is designed to fit easily into any operating room. Its small footprint and digital planning capabilities allow the robot-assisted system to move between operating rooms and patient care rooms.

The system is particularly appealing to ambulatory center surgeons, as the site of care in the United States has changed rapidly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses, hospitals and care teams – as well as surgeons – suffer from burnout, and DePuy Synthes hopes Velys will reduce some of the physical burdens.

“That’s probably the biggest challenge we’re going to face, the overall operation of hospitals in the short term,” Ekdahl said. “I don’t think it will last long, because it will work out. But it will have an impact. »

DePuy Synthes Velys Johnson & Johnson


The Velys robot-assisted system is part of DePuy Synthes’ broader Velys digital surgery platform. Velys Digital Surgery is a connected technology platform that uses data insights to plan, execute and complete surgical procedures. It enables real-time decision-making, greater accuracy and consistency, and more personalized care, according to the company.

Velys Digital and the robot-assisted arm eliminate the need for CT imaging prior to total knee implantation procedures. It is based on a computer-assisted workflow that uses matrices and bone landmarks to enable surgical planning in the operating room at the time of the procedure.

The efficiency and precision of cuts and movements using Velys are appealing to surgeons, but it’s the digital information capabilities in combination with the robot-assisted system that make it unique, Ekdahl said.

“The surgeons, at first, when they use the robot, they are incredibly intrigued by the precision of the cuts,” he said. “They are intrigued by how quickly they can perform the procedure. What really intrigues them in the end is the possibility of using computer technology in combination with the robot-assisted arm. It’s their ability to use those two things and bring them together for a more precise knee and a more balanced knee.

DePuy Synthes plans to bring more innovations to orthopedic robotic surgery now that elective procedures are returning to normal levels after being postponed due to the pandemic. The company wants to invest more in digital and enabling technologies to revolutionize robotic surgery using data that will, in turn, change implant design in the future, Ekdahl said.

“If we can deliver an innovation that reduces the physical burden of orthopedic surgery for the surgeon and the rest of the operating room team to put the implant in, that’s extreme innovation,” he said. he declares.

Listen to Andrew Ekdahl and DePuy Synthes, Global Chairman of Sports Medicine and Shoulder Reconstruction, on the DeviceTalks Weekly podcast.


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