Patient-matched technology increases surgical efficiency for hospitals

Surgical accuracy, and, by extension, hospital efficiency, could be improved through the use of patient-matched technology, according to a study published in the January 2012 edition of The Journal of Arthroplasty.

The technology, which requires engineers to create patient-specific surgical instruments after viewing a patient's medical images online, was used for 15 patients who needed a total knee arthroplasty; 14 patients underwent the same procedure using standard instruments.

For the patients who underwent the procedure using the tailor-made instruments, implants were found to be closer to the body's natural alignment than for those who were operated on using standard tools. The study's authors, led by orthopaedic surgeon John W. Noble, Jr., noted that the more accurate an implant placement, the less likely it will wear down quickly.

Noble and his colleagues added that patient-matched technology helped to reduce the amount of time a patient spent under anesthesia, shortened the length of hospital stays, and required a smaller incision than is normally made for such an operation.

The authors also said that the technology reduced the number of instrument trays needed by 43 percent and eliminated more than 20 steps in the surgery process.

"These findings are of particular interest in respect to the current health economic climate," they said. "Patient-matched cutting blocks require less surgical instrumentation, which can effectively reduce hospital sterilization costs. Furthermore, any reduction in operative time and the duration of hospital stay may support a cumulative decrease in resource use."

To learn more:
- here's the full study
- read this announcement