While computer-assisted orthopaedic surgery (CAOS) techniques have previously been used on other joints, the world’s first computer-assisted shoulder replacement was carried out only very recently.
Clinical Associate Professor Mark Haber, pictured, lead surgeon and shoulder specialist at Southern Orthopaedics, said he was honoured to be the first surgeon in Australia to perform CAOS techniques on the shoulder.
The total shoulder replacement operation took place at Hurstville Private Hospital in Australia and saw Dr Haber and his team replace the ball and socket of the shoulder by inserting an implant into the shoulder joint.
“It is exciting that CAOS technology has finally arrived for shoulders following the success of similar technological advancements for hip and knee replacements,” said Dr Haber.
Fewer than 30 similar procedures have been carried out globally. “I think there have been 30 worldwide in the last few months. We have ten planned in Australia in the next few weeks.”
Two men aged 60 and 76 were the first patients to receive the new procedure.
CAOS is a new and evolving surgical technology which provides the surgeon and his team the ability to plan the procedure on a computer immediately preoperatively. The navigation system
then provides enhanced information and guidance during the operation.
“Previously, the procedure relied on the surgeon’s experience, eyesight and steady hand.” While these remain paramount, “computer assistance is able to aid accuracy and precision.” Dr Haber said.
“The technology is too new for its benefits to be determined accurately, but we are aiming for [big] improvements on the 10-year-plus outcomes of the current techniques.”
Shoulder replacement surgery has been on the rise in recent years. “As a result of great improvements in implant design, less invasive surgical techniques, better anaesthesia and improved postoperative care, we have seen the number of surgeries increase exponentially, nearly 10 per cent year on year.
“The procedure allows patients with severe shoulder pain and movement limitations to return to activities they had never again thought possible.”
Photo: Adam McLean