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AHN Physicians First in State to Perform Computer-Assisted Shoulder Replacement Surgeries Using Innovative Guided Personalized Surgery Technology

Monday, November 19, 2018

Allegheny General is one of 25 hospitals in the United States and the only hospital in Pennsylvania to use the ExactechGPS system for total shoulder replacements.

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Surgeons at Allegheny Health Network (AHN) have become the first in Pennsylvania to perform computer-assisted shoulder replacement surgery using a new technology called ExactechGPS (Guided Personalized Surgery). The first procedure was performed at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) by AHN orthopaedic surgeon Edward Birdsong, MD.

ExactechGPS is a surgeon-controlled, computer-assisted surgical technology that delivers increased precision and accuracy in joint replacement procedures. This advanced platform combines surgeon expertise with a computer system, allowing for simple adjustments, minimally invasive techniques, and implant alignment personalized to the patient’s unique anatomy.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, approximately 53,000 Americans undergo shoulder joint replacement surgery each year. Joint replacement surgery is a procedure in which parts of the joint are removed and replaced with a metal, plastic, or ceramic prosthesis. In some cases, total joint replacement is necessary to restore natural function and movement. Several conditions can cause joint pain and disability, the most common being damage to cartilage from conditions such as arthritis, or from a fracture.

ExactechGPS technology provides surgeons with real-time, computer-assisted guidance that enables greater visibility of the target anatomy and greater flexibility to make adjustments that significantly improve the precision of screw placements.

“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.”

AHN orthopaedic surgeons Bradley Palmer, MD, Dennis Phillips, MD, Aaron Burgess, MDRobert C Brabender, MD, Steven Regal, MD are also trained on the technology which is available at AGH.

The AHN Orthopaedic Institute has a long history of incorporating new technologies and capabilities into surgical practice. AHN surgeons also were recently the first in western PA to perform robotic-assisted total-hip and partial-knee replacements using the MAKO Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopaedic system.   

“Our goal is to surround patients with a full complement of high-quality services and personalized care pathways that enable them to return to health as quickly and safely as possible,” said Patrick DeMeo, MD, Chair, AHN Orthoapedic Institute. “ExactechGPS is another example of our commitment to investing in leading-edge technologies that help us provide the best possible experience and outcomes for our patients.”