Dr. Jaime Hernandez of Southern California Orthopedic Institute broke new surgical ground in joint replacement, performing the nation’s first CORI robotic-assisted total knee replacement in an outpatient ambulatory surgery center Thursday.
Hernandez is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hip and knee replacement, doing nearly 1,000 joint replacements each year at SCOI.
“The jump that’s made in activity and in pain relief after a hip or a knee replacement … allows for the biggest improvement in a patient’s life,” Hernandez said.
Since joining the SCOI team in 2010, Hernandez has seen replacement surgeries evolve as technology advances, allowing for improvements in the way operations are done.
One major modern advancement has been doing total joint replacement at the outpatient surgery center.
“Over the past few years with improvements in technology, medications and anesthesia, these operations have moved away from the hospital and to the surgery centers because it’s essentially a much easier thing for the patient to go through,” Hernandez added.
Rather than a surgery that takes several hours, with patients remaining in the hospital for two to three days for rehab, an outpatient surgery takes about an hour, with patients returning home an hour after their surgery.
Another advancement comes on the technological front, where Hernandez, who has been using computer navigation throughout his whole career, has now advanced into using robots about a year ago.
“Robots make more accurate measurements, and it can cut more accurately than a human alone,” Hernandez said, adding that he can now skip putting alignment rods into patients, which is a painful step.
With this groundbreaking procedure, Hernandez has now combined for the first time these two major advancements in the world of joint replacement.
“What I did today was to do an outpatient joint replacement with the most modern robot available,” he added. “So it’s not all new at once, it’s just one more thing.”
Released just weeks ago, the CORI robot from Smith & Nephew delivers the latest in software, patient-specific operative planning and robotic-assisted surgery for joint replacement.
“It’s smaller, faster, more powerful, more accurate,” Hernandez said. “It’s a step up.”
While geared for minimally invasive surgery, the hand-held CORI robot and surgical system have not been used in an ambulatory surgery center in the United States until now.
“Dr. Hernandez’s procedure will serve as another great leap in the technological advancement of knee replacement for patients around the country,” SCOI Managing Director Dr. Paul Simic said in a prepared statement. “At Southern California Orthopedic Institute, we are committed to innovation to offer our patients and orthopedic patients everywhere the very best, and together, we want to congratulate Dr. Hernandez on his achievement and continued dedication to his patients and our field of medicine.”
For Hernandez, it’s these advancements to revolutionize patient care that excite him.
“It’s just amazing how fast things advance,” Hernandez added. “I’ve seen with my own eyes the field evolve, and happier patients, faster recovery, (while we’re) able to do things more quickly. So it’s fun for me, but the main thing is it’s a benefit to the patient.”
Though much has been improved, Hernandez still says more needs to be done, as older people aren’t slowing down and are remaining active later.
“This is going to become a much more common operation in the future, so the better we can perfect it, the better patients are going to do,” he added. “The whole point of this is to make the patient have less pain and faster recovery and a better outcome.”
For more information on Southern California Orthopedic Institute, visit www.scoi.com.