Methodist announces "GPS" surgery technology 

Feb 01

Courtesy of the Times  MERRILLVILLE | Methodist Hospitals unveiled on Tuesday a new technology to help physicians perform more effective spinal, neuro and orthopedic surgeries.

Announcing it as the only one of its kind in Northwest Indiana, the about $1.5 million multispecialty computer assisted surgery suite is comparable to having a global positioning system in the operating room, allowing for greater visualization and information, better instrument placement and better outcomes for patients.

The system doesn't replace the surgeon's skills but enables them to more accurately place and align implants and navigate their instruments through delicate anatomy, Methodist said. It features an infrared surgical navigation camera, smart instruments and tracking software that creates three–dimensional "digital roadmaps" for the surgeon to follow and aids in the reduction of radiation exposure in the operating room by lessening the number of X–ray images during the procedure.

"It makes a good surgeon a better surgeon," said Dr. Elian Shepherd, spinal surgeon and medical director of the Spine Care Center at Methodist. "Potential benefits to the patient are numerous."

Orthopedic surgeon Judson Wood Jr. said the system guides his cuts to make an accurate, almost perfect alignment incision.

"That's one of the main advantages of using this computer in orthopedic surgery," he said. Wood said surgeons also no longer have to drill a hole in the patient's femur, resulting in less blood loss and faster recovery.

Methodist Hospitals President and CEO Ian McFadden said the technology will allow Northwest Indiana residents the opportunity to receive the best care available without having to travel out of the area.

"It's a very significant investment," he said. "Not just because it's the first and only, or even because it was costly, but because Methodist Hospitals have always made the commitment to be the best place for patients to receive the best care available and the best place for our physicians to practice medicine."

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