Orthopedic Surgeon Details Emerging Technology in Total Joint Arthroplasty

When it comes to adopting new technology in orthopedic surgery, Juan C. Suarez, MD, says he proceeds with caution and waits until the methods’ safety and efficacy are proven.

“It is important to adopt technology responsibly,” said Dr. Suarez, an orthopedic surgeon with Baptist Health Orthopedic Care. “Baptist Health supports my efforts to implement evidence-based technology, and patients benefit from this commitment to quality and excellence.” Dr. Suarez specializes in adult hip and knee arthroplasty, also known as hip and knee replacement. He has 16 years of experience in his specialty and performs approximately 700 operations per year.

Carlos Suarez, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Baptist Health Orthopedic Care.

During a virtual lecture series for Baptist Health International Orthopedics, Dr. Suarez discussed with doctors and patients from around the world how technology has improved his surgical methods and improved patient outcomes.

Advances in Hip Arthroplasty

In most cases, Dr. Suarez performs hip replacement surgery using a direct anterior rather than posterior approach. This minimally invasive technique involves a small incision in the front of the thigh that allows the joint to be replaced by moving the muscles aside without severing any tendons. “Patients experience less pain, faster recovery and a faster return to normal activities with the anterior approach,” explained Dr. Suarez.

Intraoperative data has changed the way Dr. Suarez performs this surgery. Intraoperative fluoroscopic (X-ray) navigation provides him with specific data on component positioning, leg length, and femoral displacement. “This technology takes all the guesswork out of surgery,” said Dr. Suarez. “Precision plays an important role in restoring the patient’s normal gait and function, as well as relieving pain. It also reduces the risk of instability or displacement in the future.”

Advances in Knee Arthroplasty

Intraoperative data provided during robot-assisted knee replacement surgery also provides Dr. Suarez a precise plan of action. A CT scan of the patient’s knee maps the knee to the intraoperative field and creates a plane that guides bony incisions and achieves soft tissue alignment and balance. “This operation used to be performed with mechanical instruments and the eyeball test,” explained Dr. Suarez. “Now, the robotic arm is controlled within the parameters of the plan to provide personalized alignment.”

Since the robotic arm allows for precision and better preservation of surrounding healthy tissue, patients typically recover faster than those with traditional joint replacements. In many cases, patients go home the same day as surgery. Dr. Suarez says international patients should plan to stay in South Florida for two weeks for a post-op checkup before traveling home.

The benefits of robot-assisted knee replacement surgery also extend to the surgeon. Studies show that surgeons who perform total knee replacement surgeries with robotic surgical assistance experience less stress and strain than those who use conventional methods. This is especially useful for surgeons like Dr. Suarez who perform a large volume of operations. “I know I can trust the data, perform the surgery accurately and ensure the best outcome for the patient,” added Dr. Suarez.

Using 3D technology

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the process of creating a three-dimensional object by laying the material into the desired shape. In orthopedics, this technology is used to create custom printed implants and patient-specific surgical instruments based on MRI and CT scan images of the patient’s affected limb.

In knee replacement surgery, this type of implant is closer to the normal anatomy of the original joint. The product has a higher porosity and engineered scaffolds that promote bone growth into the prosthesis, says Dr. Suarez. This allows for biological fixation rather than cemented fixation, which can break down over time and cause problems for the patient.

“3D printed implants are fully adapted to the unique anatomy of the patient,” explained Dr. Suarez. “Patients who receive custom knee implants often recover faster and experience fewer adverse events after surgery than patients who receive a traditional knee implant.”

Schedule a consultation

To determine if you are a candidate for hip or knee replacement surgery, schedule an orthopedic consultation with Dr. Suarez by visiting BaptistHealth.net/Ortho or by calling 833-556-6764. International patients can arrange concierge service from a Baptist Health International patient coordinator by calling 786-596-2373 or emailing [email protected]

Tags: Baptist Health Orthopedic Care

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