Digitalisation Plays Key Role in German Operating Theatres

The technology is already in widespread use in cars and smartphones. We are talking, of course, about navigation assistance. GPS is able to pinpoint our exact location on a digital map, then seamlessly route us to the desired destination. Recently, cutting-edge navigation technology has started advancing a new field in Germany: in operating theatres, it is being used to increase the success rate of shoulder replacement surgery.

‘AI may replace humans altogether.’—Stephen Hawking

For people to enjoy improved quality of life for years after shoulder replacement, the operation must be carried out with utmost precision. Even the most experienced orthopaedic surgeon needs to carefully prepare each procedure on a case-by-case basis. In the preoperative phase, he or she relies on CT scans and specialised software to virtually map the exact placement of the prosthetic. And for good reason: during the operation, even well-trained eyes cannot see what is hidden behind the shoulder blade—information essential to correctly positioning the new joint. This is where navigation technology comes into play.

A digital surgery assistant

The surgeon begins by entering patient-specific data into the navigation assistance system. Based on this information, it calculates the right route to follow during surgery, a technique proven to significantly increase the procedure’s accuracy. Using CT data in combination with specialised software, the surgeon is able to precisely plan the procedure, including the implant’s exact location. When it is time to operate, the surgeon chooses one of two options: either follow a plotted path to the right location, or opt for real-time navigation. Either way, the end result is a precisely placed new shoulder—and a new lease on life for the patient.

With this and other innovative technologies, the joint specialists the ATOS Clinics, Germany are leading the way in treatment of the shoulder, hip, knee and foot.

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