health & wellness
Medical robots from Technion perform
surgery with 100 percent accuracy.
'Custom-Fit' Shoulder Surgery
Benefits St. Joe Patients
By Jack Weiner,
President and CEO
St. Joseph Mercy
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is always
looking for the latest medical technologies
to enhance the safest, high quality care
our skilled and experienced physicians and
clinicians provide for our patients.
Among our newest applications of state-
of-the-art technology is the Signature
Custom Fit shoulder replacement procedure.
St. Joe's is the first hospital in Michigan to
offer this revolutionary procedure, expertly
performed by orthopedic surgeon Richard
Bartholomew, DO, the first in Michigan and one of only 15 physicians in the nation
authorized to do so.
This new technology is designed to fit the specific anatomy of each patient. The
"signature shoulder" used for Custom Fit shoulder replacement is created for each
patient using a CT scan with 3D reconstructive images to match the patient's anatomy
exactly. From these images, a custom shoulder ball, socket, guide and stem implants
are created for use by Dr. Bartholomew during the surgery. These allow for more
precise alignment of the shoulder, resulting in less bone loss and smaller incisions.
Each person's anatomy is different and it makes perfect sense when replacing a
piece of their anatomy that we match implants to fit their body perfectly," says Dr.
Bartholomew. This precise level of customization allows for a minimally invasive
shoulder replacement surgery and in turn, noticeably improved results for patients."
Benefits to the patient from the minimally invasive Custom Fit surgery include
quicker recovery time, greater range of motion and a greater level of preservation of
the existing bone and ligaments. The procedure usually takes 45 minutes, versus one
hour for a traditional shoulder replacement, and only requires a one-night hospital stay,
with physical therapy beginning the day after surgery.
Most major insurance plans cover the Custom Fit shoulder surgery. There are no
additional costs for our patients.
We strive to remain a leader in providing the highest levels of patient safety and
quality care and in the use of medical technology. We are proud to be able to offer this
new surgical procedure to our patients.
nuary 30 • 2014
obotic devices developed by
the Technion-Israel Institute of
Technology in Haifa are being
used to improve success rates for intri-
cate spinal surgeries and other proce-
dures, according to Technion Professor
Alon Wolf, who came to Metro Detroit
Jan. 13 to share this groundbreak-
ing technology with various groups
throughout the community.
Wolf, founder and director of the
Biorobotics and Biomechanics Lab in
the Technion Faculty of Mechanical
Engineering, said he has long been
interested in how robotics can help
standardize certain medical procedures
and improve accuracy.
"I wondered, why not apply automa-
tion to the medical world so different
doctors [in different parts of the world]
will achieve the same results:' said Wolf,
who is also a Technion alumnus and
former researcher at Carnegie Mellon
University in Pittsburgh.
He told the audience gathered at
the Jewish Federation building in
Bloomfield Township about a study
involving spinal surgery that included
the placement of screws at precise
intervals. When done manually, screws
were misplaced in 10 percent of the
cases; half of these errors were serious
enough to cause significant long-term
complications for the patients. When
robotic devices were used to perform
this same procedure, there were no
incidents of misplaced screws; the suc-
cess rate climbed to 100 percent.
Robotic devices also minimize the
need for major incisions in many cases,
even cardiac bypass surgery, reduc-
ing the risk of infection and allowing
patients to go home much sooner than
would otherwise be possible.
Wolf displayed a model of the
USAR (Urban Search and Rescue)
snake robot, a Technion-based inven-
tion that can enter closed spaces and
assist in location and rescue activities
by transmitting pictures and voices
of trapped people. The robot, winner
of the Popular Science Best of What's
New Award in 2012, was presented to
President Obama when he visited Israel.
Wolf said adaptations of the snake
robot and other robotic devices, based
on the movements of animals such as
snakes, owls and worms, can be ret-
rofitted with various tools and attach-
ments to perform cardiac, brain and
Technion Professor Alon Wolf and
Linda Kovan, president, Detroit
Chapter of the American Technion
Society, display the award-winning
snake robot search-and-rescue
ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeries.
He also discussed a technology
called AposTherapy, developed from
research conducted at the Technion
Gait Lab, which helps minimize knee
and lower back pain and reduces the
need for knee replacement surgery. The
treatment utilizes a customized bio-
mechanical shoe that changes the way
people walk by adjusting foot pressure.
Wolf cited a recent study with a group
of 61-year-old women with severe
knee pain, which showed significant
improvement after nine months of use.
"It [osteoarthritis] starts in the foot:'
he said. "The gait can't be changed by
yoga or Pilates — you have to walk"
Future innovations Wolf discussed
include implants made of organic mate-
rials instead of metal, which wears out
over time; tiny robotic devices that can
be sent into the body to correct certain
abnormalities; and a robotic rehabilita-
tion system that automatically adjusts
exercises according to individual
Following the presentation at
Federation, Wolf headed to a senior
living community in West Bloomfield,
where the residents were eager to hear
about his research on new methods for
treating osteoarthritis, which Wolf says
is the leading health concern in the
"We are delighted to share the hidden
jewel of Technion with members of our
community who can benefit from its
expertise said Linda Kovan, president
of the Detroit Chapter of the American