Williamson Medical Center has long been a pioneer in surgical technology.
Boasting some of the cutting-edge technological advancements available today, we are continually implementing advances that allow us to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction, while minimizing hospital stays and recovery time.
Our state-of-the-art vascular suite houses some of the most advanced technology available today, including a control room that houses computers and imaging monitors linking to the main room.
This technology allows us the ability to use three-dimensional images during a reconstruction procedure. We will continue to be able to evolve and remain on the cutting edge of vascular care with better clarity, less radiation to the patient, and shorter times on the operating table as a result.
The new machinery operates similar to a cardiac cath lab in that the machines move and spin to produce the 3-D imagery as well as CT images. Unlike a cardiac cath lab, however, we also have the ability to use this technology during open surgical procedures, giving us a unique “hybrid” ability to perform interventions with smaller incisions and less operative time.
Our vascular suite also has overhead cameras linked into the lighting system, which give our surgeons the ability to record and link our surgeries “live” for education purposes. Vanderbilt University Medical Center residents who are learning from our surgeons will be given the best opportunity to learn vascular surgery and be prepared with the latest technology prior to entering a fellowship.
Robotic-assisted orthopaedic technology
Cory Calendine, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon, describes the new leading-edge surgical robotic technology at Williamson Medical Center as being like a GPS for a hip or knee joint.
That’s about the best way to explain exactly what the RIO®, the Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopaedic System, has been doing for orthopaedic surgeries at WMC since early 2015.
“With this technology, we are able to do specialized images of the joint before we start a surgery and that allows us to plan better,” Calendine said. “It enables the surgeon to do a more thorough pre-operative evaluation, plan the most effective procedure and then execute it more precisely than ever.”
Williamson Medical Center is leading the way in the Nashville region with orthopaedic robotic technology, being the first medical center in the area to offer the RIO® system.
“We have a very successful orthopaedic surgery program here, so having a piece of technology like this will help solidify Williamson Medical Center as the place to come for these types of surgeries,” said Don Webb, WMC’s Chief Executive Officer. “Being the first in the area to offer this level of precision speaks volumes about our commitment to orthopaedics.”
Orthopaedic surgeon Brian Perkinson, M.D., said the need for the technology is driven by people having higher expectations for their lifestyle, especially as they age.
“People are coming to see us earlier in life than ever before,” Perkinson said. “The robot allows us to address their joint issues at a less advanced stage. Specifically, this technology improves the accuracy of partial knee replacement and makes the surgery much easier, so we don’t need to wait until a full replacement is warranted. We believe that improved accuracy will translate into partial knee replacements that last longer and longer for our patients.
An ideal candidate for a partial knee is someone who has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis that has not progressed to all three compartments of the knee. Benefits of these robotic-assisted partial knee replacements include a smaller incision, less pain and scarring, a shorter hospital stay, improved range of motion and the ability to return to normal everyday activities much sooner than with traditional knee replacement surgery.
In addition to pre-operative planning, during surgery, RIO® provides real-time information and images that allow the surgeon to control accurate implant placement, which is more difficult using manual techniques.
According to a Duke University study, 90 percent of candidates for hip or knee replacements decline surgery because of perceived complications. With the RIO® System, people don’t have to be apprehensive about the results.
“With this type of technology, we can do partial knees or full hip replacements with unparalleled precision,” said orthopaedic surgeon Christopher Stark, M.D. “Being able to offer this level of precision enhances the entire orthopaedic program at Williamson Medical Center because it enables us to open up these options to more people. We really are starting to see more motivated patients because they are learning that we can do these surgeries.”
Orthopaedic surgeon Paul Thomas, M.D., said this RIO® system is something that isn’t available anywhere else in the Nashville metro area.
“This really is a unique process from start to finish that is all focused on faster recovery and better outcomes,” Thomas said. “It showcases Williamson Medical Center’s commitment to embracing proven new technology, so that we can always deliver excellent patient care resulting in better outcomes.”
The Robotic-Arm Assisted system, created by Mako, was FDA approved in 2006 and has been commercially available in the U.S. since 2009. Thousands of successful knee and hip replacements have been performed nationwide using this technology.
“It’s important to note that this is an interactive system,” Calendine said. “It’s a tool that the surgeon is in control of, so the robot aids the surgeon.”
Colin Looney, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon, said this new robotic technology is a great way to showcase Williamson Medical Center and the joint program that’s been developed here.
“We have this great arthroplasty program that does a thousand joints a year right here in our own community with local surgeons and staff,” he said.
Fluorescence imaging technology for the treatment of renal tumors
Patients with kidney tumors now have an even brighter future at Williamson Medical Center.
In early 2012, WMC became the first hospital in Middle Tennessee to incorporate a groundbreaking fluorescence imaging technology for the treatment of renal tumors.
“Williamson Medical Center has always been a leader in robotic surgery, and this new technology provides a great benefit to the community,” Locke says. “Fluorescence imaging capability allows us to isolate cancerous tissue; healthy tissue is identified as bright, neon green while cancer tissue stays dark. As a result, we can remove cancerous tissue with much more accuracy, and at the time of the surgery we are much more confident there is no cancer left behind.”
This technique further advances the benefits of robotic surgery for better patient outcomes. The flexibility and precise movements of the instruments at the ends of three robotic arms allow both simple and more complex procedures to be performed through only a few small, one-quarter-inch long incisions. Because of this, the procedure is less traumatic to the body and results in minimal scarring and faster recovery times for patients.