ExactechGPS® Allows for Precise, Personalized Joint Replacements

I started to feel pain doing everyday activities — holding the steering wheel, swinging a hammer,” Thomas Kuhn explained. “While I ignored it at first, by the end, if I rolled over in bed, it felt like my bones were rubbing against each other. The cartilage in my shoulder was completely gone.”

That’s when Thomas turned to the orthopaedic surgeons of Allegheny Health Network — again.

After having a total joint replacement on his right shoulder a few years back, Thomas went back to Edward Birdsong, MD, with his left shoulder concerns.
In the two or so years since his last surgery, Allegheny Health Network had introduced ExactechGPS — a groundbreaking technology that allowed for simple adjustments, minimally invasive techniques, and implant alignment personalized to a patient’s anatomy.

Thomas—or more specifically his shoulder—was the perfect candidate for the approach.

The first hospital in Pennsylvania to use ExactechGPS.  

ExactechGPS is a surgeon-controlled, computer-assisted surgical technology that delivers increased precision and accuracy in joint replacement procedures.

“Traditionally, estimating the placement of implant screws in shoulder replacements has been very limited,” said Dr. Birdsong.

“The less accurate the placement of screws, the more likely it is for a patient to experience complications or need a repeat surgery. In the past, we have only been able to visualize a small portion of the bones we’re targeting during surgery. With ExactechGPS, we can now see through the muscle and skin into the whole anatomy for greater flexibility and accuracy.”

Allegheny General Hospital is one of only 50 hospitals in the United States using the ExactechGPS system for total shoulder replacements. And, Dr. Birdsong, along with several other AHN orthopaedic surgeons, are some of the only providers in Pennsylvania to offer this innovative approach.

Getting back to what you love.  

“While I was avoiding the surgery at first,” Thomas said, “I’m so glad I did it.”

Thanks to the precise, minimally-invasive nature of his total joint replacement surgery, Thomas only spent one night in the hospital. And, he barely used any pain medicine beyond the patient-controlled analgesia pump immediately following the procedure.

“I didn’t really even need the medicine once I was home — my shoulder felt so good. I did a few weeks of physical therapy, and I was back to feeling like myself.”

Now, with titanium joints in both shoulders, Thomas stays on top of his at-home physical therapy and is back to doing the things he loves, like chasing after his four grandchildren.

“When your grandchild looks up at you and asks to be picked up, what are you going to say? When I had shoulder pain, I’d hesitate. Now, I can just lift down and pick them up. It’s wonderful.”

Contact Us

For more information on total joint replacements, or if you are experiencing pain in your joints, request an appointment with one of our experts or get more information about Allegheny Health Network Orthopaedic Institute.