Say hello to ROSA — Delta hospital brings cutting-edge robotics to knee surgery

State Rep. Matt Soper, DCMH director, (left) takes a closer look at how ROSA knee system robot finds the proper location while assisting the surgeon. 

Delta County Memorial Hospital recently introduced the ROSA Knee system by Zimmer Biomet Solutions. The day’s big event began with a demonstration of the new robotic technology inside the ROSA semi-trailer.

The hospital is currently the only one on the Western Slope using the Zimmer Biomet ROSA Knee system. ROSA technology gives the rural hospital a competitive edge without raising the cost of a knee replacement.

Matt Hyen, DCMH’s CEO, said the plan is for the equipment to pay for itself based on the volume of surgeries performed. Hyen said the hospital does roughly 100 knee replacement surgeries per year. With the new technology, the hospital hopes to draw new patients from the surrounding region.

“I think it’s fun that we are able to be the first to offer this technology on the Western Slope. It’s a way for us to give back to the community in the way that they have given to us in the past,” Hyen said. “The outcomes for the total knee, I would rival it against any community hospital on the Western Slope so, it’s a win, win, win for us and the community.”

The hour-long demonstration allowed DCMH staff, board of directors and media to get a close up look at the state-of-the-art technology used for knee replacement surgery.

State Rep. Matt Soper, DCMH Board of Directors, took a special interest in the robot’s capabilities. Soper spent time after the presentation with Travis Peckskamp, regional sales manager for Zimmer, and Steve Olsen, local sales manager for Zimmer, to learn more about the newest technology for the hospital.

“Delta’s hospital is standing out from our competitors by placing the most advanced robotic assistant in the operating room, which will increase accuracy of the knee surgeries for patients,” Soper said.

DCMH orthopedic surgeons Drs. John Knutson and Douglas Huene, received full certification on the equipment prior to the tour and began using the technology the same afternoon. The two surgeons preformed a number of knee replacements under the direction of a Zimmer Biomet clinical specialist.

“Total joint surgery at DCMH has been greatly enhanced with the acquisition of the ROSA Knee robot-assisted navigation system. This is a system that allows orthopedic surgeons to accurately verify alignment and stability. This system puts us on par with other centers of excellence that offer a joint replacement,” said Knutson, of Delta Orthopedics.

The ROSA Knee system focuses on improving efficiency in the operation room as well as increasing the surgeon’s accuracy during knee replacement. And the mobile robot can be moved in and out of operating rooms as needed.

After years of wear and tear, many individuals find themselves in need of a total knee replacement; unfortunately, approximately 20% of individuals who have a knee replacement aren’t completely satisfied with the outcome.

With the new ROSA technology, DCMH hopes to provide better patient satisfaction and long-term outcome for knee replacements. Before surgery, a series of X-rays may be used to create a 3-dimensional model used by the surgeon to plan the specifics of the knee replacement.

“I think ROSA Knee is going to be a great advantage to our community to offer a total joint replacement for specialty or difficult joints that are painful and stiff. It will allow us to do a better alignment on the joint and have a better function so patients can return to their activities faster and can have less pain and better long-term outcomes,” said Huene, of Grand Mesa Medical Group Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.

During surgery, the ROSA Knee acts as a robotic assistant, but does not perform the actual operation. The robot only moves when prompted by the surgeon acting more like a very detailed GPS system. If the patient’s leg moves, the robot makes adjustments aiding the surgeon as he/she positions the implant based on the patient’s unique anatomy.

“The ROSA Knee System keeps the patient active with minimal to no pain so they can resume their normal activities without restrictions,” said Huene, adding that while they expect to make more improvement, early results are “excellent.”

Zimmer Biomet Solutions also uses mymobility with Apple Watch data collection technology to keep patients and healthcare providers in contact following the surgery. The technology collects data and helps doctors guide patients through the recovery period.

Lisa Young is a staff writer for the Delta County Independent.

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