Orthopedic Care

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First in PA and NJ to Offer Next-Generation Robotic Technology for Knee Replacement
September 15, 2021

Orthopedic surgeons at St. Luke’s University Health Network are first to offer knee replacement procedures using the new VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution, a next-generation robotic technology that uses data tailored to each patient’s anatomy.

The first case using this robotic technology was done September 14, 2021 at St Luke’s, with orthopedic surgeon Adam Sadler, DO, performing the procedure at St. Luke’s Warren Campus in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. The first case in Pennsylvania will be scheduled at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem in October 2021.

Approved by the FDA in January 2021, the VELYS orthopedic robot helps increase surgical accuracy and precision, improve recovery, increase mobility and accelerate the return to desired activities. The system integrates proprietary digital software, anatomical imaging and a table-mounted surgical saw, which sharpens the surgeon’s visualization and precision of bone cuts during total knee replacement surgery.

Knee Osteoarthritis and Knee Replacement

The most common reason for knee replacement is osteoarthritis, a progressive condition that worsens over time. According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 27 million people in the U.S. have osteoarthritis, with the knee being one of the most commonly affected areas.

Knee replacement surgery is frequently a patient’s treatment choice when activity modification, medicine, injections and physical therapy fail to reduce pain and improve overall function. St. Luke’s orthopedic surgeons perform hundreds of total knee replacement procedures each year.  

Robotic-Assisted Knee Replacement

Robotic-assisted knee replacement has been performed in the U.S. only since 2006, says Dr. Sadler, who serves as the network director of the orthopedic robotic program for St. Luke’s University Health Network. The VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution offers benefits beyond those of standard robotic techniques currently available. 

“This innovative technology allows the marriage of surgical skills with precise execution of a plan using advanced cutting-edge technology,” says Dr. Sadler. “It’s a tool that will help us move the needle forward as we further improve outcomes in knee replacement.”

Working in tandem with the ATTUNE® Knee System, the VELYS system provides reproducible accuracy in implant positioning, leading to increased stability, reduced pain, better range of motion and greater patient satisfaction.

St. Luke’s orthopedic surgeon Chinenye Nwachuku, MD, says the VELYS system facilitates pre-operative planning, real-time assessment with precise navigation and control of the surgical saw, reducing the need for soft tissue manipulation and lessening post-operative pain. “This system further increases our chances of achieving overall better outcomes.”

“It will help us ‘push the envelope’ in this exacting procedure, to increase the life of the implant, reduce pain, and accelerate rehabilitation,” adds Dr. Sadler. 

“The new technology is exciting,” says St. Luke’s orthopedic surgeon Patrick Brogle, MD. “It should also result in less post-operative pain and blood loss, which can be common side-effects of the surgery.”

Dr. Brogle notes that a typical, modern prosthetic joint should last 15-20 years. “We have every size of joint implant at our disposal, and this system will help us enhance the implanting process.

The VELYS Robotic Assisted Solution was developed by DePuy Synthes, the Orthopaedic Company of Johnson & Johnson.