Latest orthopaedic technology lands in Australia

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Australian orthopaedic surgeons will be among the first in the world to get their hands on the latest in robotic technology.

The VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution, developed by DePuy Synthes, the orthopaedic company of Johnson & Johnson, has been recently included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

Designed for use with the ATTUNE Knee System, the VELYS is the newest tool for surgeons who perform knee arthroplasty surgery.

Sue Martin, managing director of Johnson & Johnson Medical Australia and New Zealand, said she was delighted to announce surgeons in the Southern Hemisphere would be trying out the new system.

“Australia joins an exclusive list of just a few countries with access to this technology to date,” she said.

“The introduction of the VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution is a testament to Johnson & Johnson Medical Device’s ongoing commitment to create innovative technologies that help hospitals and surgeons improve patient outcomes and advance the sustainability of Australia’s healthcare system.”

An increasing number of surgical procedures are using robotic assistance.

However, some of the drawbacks of the technology have been the impacts on operational efficiency, including surgical time and the technological learning curve.

The VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution is designed to respond to this, as a first-of-its-kind operating table mounted solution.

The robot uses advanced planning capabilities, proprietary technology, and a next-generation design to help surgeons accurately resect bones that align, and position the implant relative to the soft-tissue during total knee replacement, without the need for pre-operative imaging. The robot also features efficient and compact design.

In 2020, Dr Mark Clatworthy, an orthopaedic knee surgeon based in Auckland, New Zealand, became the first surgeon in the world to perform knee surgery using this technology.

“I’ve used the VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution in 60 of my ATTUNE Knee procedures, and have found it to be accurate, fast and efficient,” he said.

“This next-generation device enables me to evaluate the bony anatomy and soft tissue envelope of the knee to plan the optimal implant position and then use the robotic-assisted solution to deliver and execute the plan.

“I’ve found my knees to be well-balanced at the end of the procedure and my patients are doing well post-operatively.”

According to Johnson & Johnson, it simplifies knee replacement surgery by providing:

  • Valuable insights – gap balance data to help surgeons visualise and predict joint stability
  • Versatile execution – instinctive, integrated design to give surgeons the control they are used to while optimising daily theatre flow
  • Verified performance – accurate, consistent plan execution, supporting the ATTUNE Knee in providing better patient outcomes.

DePuy Synthes Australia vice-president Ben Travers said the system was part of the broader VELYS Digital Surgery Platform of “connected technologies powered by data insights and designed to elevate the orthopaedic experience for patients, surgeons and their teams”.

“Supporting the patient specific alignment surgical method, VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution has been designed to assist surgeons in providing a knee alignment that is tailored to each patient’s anatomy.

“With the addition of the VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution to our platform, we are continuing our vision to be the most personalised and connected orthopaedics company.”

DePuy Synthes Australia is also providing an innovative training solution for surgeons and and their teams.

“To support a next generation robotic solution, we’ve made a significant investment in next generation training to provide comprehensive, accessible, and personalised learning to the VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution,” Mr Travers said.

The training will include:

  • A semi-trailer mounted mobile lab with self-contained meeting, training and lab space with VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution; this mobile training environment is enabled to connect with surgeons and research and development teams around the world
  • Life-like, 3D printed, surgical models for an enhanced surgical training experience
  • Virtual reality operating environments where surgeons around the world can experience virtual reality surgical procedures using VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution
  • A dedicated and personalised online learning platform

“Our high-tech mobile lab is the first of its kind in Australia,” Mr Travers said.

“We’ll bring it to hospitals and clinical teams to facilitate hands-on learning, without the need for them to travel to undertake lab-based training.”

The mobile lab will begin its tour, visiting hospitals throughout Australia, in September 2021.

Johnson & Johnson is a Major Sponsor of APHA

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