MORNINGTON’S The Bays Hospital is the first Victorian centre and only the second in Australia to use advanced technology that is helping to revolutionise shoulder replacement surgery.
Orthopaedic surgeon James Chiu carried out the first surgery on Capel Sound resident Pam Chitty on Friday using the technology, after leading the push to bring the groundbreaking GPS navigational computer system to Mornington.
Mrs Chitty had surgery in 1980 when she first injured her rotator cuff, but deterioration meant full replacement was the only option when even hanging out the clothes became unbearable.
Mr Chiu said patients like Mrs Chitty now had options that made surgery quicker and more effective.
“Medical professionals only turned to technology when it improves accuracy and reduces operating times, and this new equipment allows faster insertion of shoulder implants with pinpoint accuracy,” he said.
A CT scan of the patient’s shoulder is downloaded onto the computer and a map of the surgery is created before the patient enters the operating theatre. The navigational tracking tools then provide real-time guidance for the surgeon to insert the implant.
“It’s still me, the surgeon, using my own hands to perform the surgery but the system will provide me with real-time guidance,” Mr Chiu said.
“I don’t have to depend on my eye alone; the computer does it for me.”
The equipment, yet to be approved in the US, is expected to reduce patients’ time in theatre and all the associated risks and costs.
Mr Chiu said there had been many improvements in shoulder replacement surgery in the past 10 years, with the latest technology “one step further” in ensuring that implants work better, function better and last longer.