A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down with
Dr. Matthew Lyman, Blue Mountain Hospital’s orthopedic surgeon, to discuss the role
of computers in joint replacement surgery and the positive impacts these
techniques can have on our patients.
“Bad joints can have an effect on the whole body. Joint pain can
cause you to not exercise and gain weight which in turn puts more strain
on your joints and causes more pain. It’s a vicious cycle,”
said Dr. Matthew Lyman.
So, let’s start at the beginning. What is joint pain and when do
patients need a replacement?
Most joint pain is due to osteoarthritis, which occurs when the protective
cartilage that cushions the end of your bones (like between your femur
and tibia) wears down. Osteoarthritis can cause pain, swelling, stiffness,
and deformities. In order to alleviate pain and the other symptoms, a
doctor can replace or fill in the deteriorating cartilage with medical
Before a patient gets to the point of needing a joint replacement, there
are other ways that you can try to alleviate the pain. Dr Lyman recommends trying:
However as the osteoarthritis progresses, a patient may realize a total
(or partial) knee, hip, or shoulder replacement is necessary.. When considering
where to get the surgery, keep in mind that Blue Mountain Hospital offers
computer assisted joint replacement surgeries.
“I want people to know that Blue Mountain Hospital has access to
the same technology as hospitals in the bigger cities. Patients can get
a computer assisted knee replacement and recover at their home hospital
instead of constantly traveling,” said Dr. Lyman.
If you’re like me and picture some giant robot in the operating room
making incisions and sewing stitches, let me explain. In order to do a
joint replacement, the surgeon has to shape the bone to fit the prosthetic
and before computer assistance doctors were having to slowly shave and
cut the bone and hope that everything fits as well as possible. Computer
assistance makes the process of cutting the bone to fit the prosthetic
faster, easier, and more precise.
The process of computer assisted surgery for joint replacements is that
the patient gets a CT scan at the hospital. The hospital then sends those
CT images to a company that creates 3D renderings. Those renderings are
used to build 3D models of the patient’s bones and build the cutting
guides that help the surgeon make the correct cuts to your bone.
“Because this technique is more precise, it takes the guesswork out
of the surgery which leads to better fitting replacements. When the replacements
fit, it can lead to longer lasting implants, more secure prosthetics,
quicker recovery, and better overall results for the patient,” said
For more detailed information on knee and hip replacements, watch our latest
seminar with Dr. Lyman
And, keep your eyes out for our next seminar on shoulder replacements.
If you are interested in discussing joint replacements with Dr. Lyman,
give us a call and set up an appointment. We will be happy to assist you.