The new orthopedic technology market is growing quickly with new trends and applications coming up almost daily. AI is a big part of this evolution – and of this article, too! –, but there are more solutions available. All of them can enhance how you are practicing medicine.
What is Orthopedic Technology?
Orthopedic technology is a broad concept where technology is used to support orthopedic healthcare professionals in clinical practice. While this is not (yet) a coined term, it includes a lot of concepts.
Types of orthopedic technologies might include:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Digital Templating
- Medical Apps
- Augmented Reality
— Picture Archiving and Communication System
— Computer-Assisted Surgery
- Data Science
If you would like to know more about it, please, follow along.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) In Ortho: Surgical Planning made smart
With a combination of technology and surgical skills, physicians can both save time and improve patient care. All of this before even entering the operating room.
When AI is applied to preoperative surgery, orthopedic surgeons can upload a patient image in a 2D and/or 3D planning environment. Thus, taking full advantage of how medical imaging has evolved.
After collecting the patient images, it’s possible to use tools such as automatic bone segmentation or digital templating.
Thanks to AI algorithms it allows to automatically plan procedures like a knee osteotomy in less than 10 seconds, or for procedures with prostheses like arthroplasties, to automatically choose the most suitable template.
The template is chosen considering the measurements done in the surgical planning and placed in the most correct position.
This takes us to Digital templating, but you can learn more about how to use Artificial Intelligence in Orthopedics, too.
Digital Templating: Always updated
As we’ve just pointed out, templating is the process of choosing the most adequate size of an implant. As digitalization reached orthopedic templating, automation, integration with AI, and 3D visualization became trending topics in the market.
Other than automatic processes, orthopedic digital templating allows for surgeons to always be up-to-date. New templates and biomedical materials are constantly updated in digital databases, which can be accessed and updated.
At PeekMed we partner directly with all major brands (such as Zimmer Biomet or DePuy) to collect information about new products.
Having this integrated knowledge, orthopedic surgeons can anticipate what implants they will be needing. This leads to better stock management and reduces sterilization needs.
You can discover more details about digital templating and how is technology incorporated into being an orthopedic surgeon on your own.
In the alternative, we can help if you schedule a free call with us.
Medical Apps: Bringing orthopedic technology to your smartphone
As smartphones, tablets, and wearables became part of our lives, medical applications, too, became a reality. Studies suggest that over 64% of orthopedic doctors are using apps in day-to-day clinical practice.
Some apps are more generalist, providing solutions for team communication, patient-specific care in real-time, or acting as medical calculators. These are likely to be used by any physician and many healthcare professionals.
On the other hand, some solutions are more specific to one specialty – some act as supporting orthopedic devices!
This includes visualization of 3D Images, allowing for better and personalized patient care, accessing reports and radiology images.
We’ve suggested some medical apps for Orthopedic Surgeons and other solutions that every doctor should know about.
Augmented reality: What Orthopedics can learn from Pokemon GO?
Pokemon GO introduced augmented reality (AR) to the common citizen, importing the cinematic idea we had regarding virtual reality. But the technology behind it has serious applications for orthopedics.
Augmented reality is a display technology that combines the real world with the virtual world. It allows digital images or preoperative planning information to be combined with the surgeon’s view of the real world.
This technique gives surgeons Superman’s “x-ray vision”. Without using an x-ray machine, surgeons can see parts of the patient’s anatomy that are not typically exposed.
AR can increase the surgeon’s view of unexposed bones and other tissues during surgery while using less invasive techniques.
Virtual reality allows entering simulated worlds without leaving their physical environment. This is often used for training before a certification exam. The same approach can be applied to orthopedics and surgical environment, allowing healthcare providers to practice before entering the operating room.
Now, researchers have begun to use the same technology to obtain intimate anatomic views in the OR. Structures once only seen invasively or through 2D pictures — such as ligaments or bones — become 3D images projected onto patients.
PACS: Access files anywhere
PACS, or Picture Archiving and Communication System, is already a reality in many hospitals, but many don’t know about it!
It can quickly be resumed as a cloud-based solution, like Google Drive or iCloud. PACS connects imaging technologies and those who need to access the images collected. This makes it instant and eliminates the need for physical files.
This is just the beginning: by integrating PACS with other tools, such as PeekMed, surgeons can access and import clinical data. It makes the workflow much faster.
This includes the most recent data but you can access previous exams and compare, too.
PACS has several benefits for the institution and clinical communication, too.
Computer Assisted Surgery: Superman vision in the OR
Computer Assisted Surgery, or CAS, is a broad reference. However, it can be resumed to a moment where technology is used to support a surgical procedure.
As a practical example, during spine surgery, orthopedic surgeons might use navigation technologies to achieve precise viewing, tracking, and angling— almost as good as Superman's x-ray vision!
A CAS might start even before entering the preoperative room, taking full advantage of the imaging technologies and preoperative orthopedic technology.
If it sounds confusing, a quick guide might help you understand the advantages of Computer Assisted Surgery.
Keep in mind that these technologies for orthopedic surgery are scaling drastically as AI, 3D, and Big Data mature.
And talking about Big Data and Data Science:
Data Science: Decide based on evidence
Data Science – often referred to as Big Data – is often used to support clinical decision-making. Data Science supports Artificial Intelligence and powers some of the orthopedic technologies that we’ve already spoken about.
Another good example is the whole logic behind “flattening the curve” during COVID. Using Data-driven information, public health professionals and epidemiologists could predict, translate and implement effective policies as the situation progressed.
Data Science is a game-changer for medical professionals, who should use it to their advantage – making them true orthopedic technologists!
Best orthopedic technology: What should I use?
What kind of technology is used in orthopedic surgery depends on what you are looking for. The key idea to keep is that most of these tools can be integrated into each other, making them truly valuable.
However, keeping up-to-date might be a bit overwhelming as a lot can change in a short period. We hope this short guide will help you find what suits you better.
On our end, we will keep you updated on new orthopedic (surgery) technology. To predict the future we often debate with experts about the future of orthopedics.