When it Comes to Orthopedic Surgery, Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Aliso Viejo, CA March 1, 2023 –

Handheld Technology Leads the Way to Improved, Cost-Effective Joint Replacement

In 1945, the University of Pennsylvania debuted ENIAC, the world’s first digital computer. It weighed 30 tons, filled a 1,000 square foot room, and cost $487,000 (the equivalent of $6.2 million today). Today’s computers can weigh just a few ounces, fit in the palm of your hand, and come with a price tag that makes them available to the masses.

Technology has come a long way and is predicted to become the standard of care in orthopedic surgery. However, it is estimated that less than 20 percent of procedures employ technology due to the size, cost, added time, or the extensive training necessary for surgeons and their staff.

“To close the gap, technology must evolve to be smaller, efficient, more cost-effective, and easier to use, so every patient can have access to its benefit,” says Eric Timko, Chairman and CEO of OrthAlign, Inc., a California-based medical device company.

OrthAlign’s open-implant, handheld navigation technology is designed for precise, personalized alignment during total joint arthroplasty. The user-friendly design and interface provide streamlined workflows to reduce OR times and support multiple ORs concurrently without the investment, equipment, or pre-operative imaging, required by most robotic surgical systems. OrthAlign has been used in over 275,000 cases worldwide, and over 50,000 of those were completed in 2022.

Lantern®, the next generation platform, is a smartphone-like device that weighs only seven ounces. The technology is optimized for the hospital or ASC with only one instrument tray, one navigation unit for all applications, and no storage requirements or service plans. Through inertial sensors, Lantern provides surgeons access to real-time information about the alignment and balance of implants for partial, total, and revision knee arthroplasty, all in the palm of their hands.

When it comes to orthopedic surgery, especially in the ASC, size matters. Robotic and traditional navigation units require a considerable amount of space, making it impractical for some facilities to house the devices. In addition, the capital equipment is often expensive which puts these game-changing technologies out of reach for many facilities, including small community hospitals and surgical centers. Robots can cost upwards of $1 million, and can have additional costs related to service charges, upgrade fees, per-case disposables, pre-op imaging costs, and storage requirements. This has a downstream effect on the payors, providers, and patients.

Michael Ast, MD, Chief Medical Innovation Officer at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, predicts that the dramatic increase in the use of technology in orthopedic surgery is going to continue, and will be integral to the future of the field.

As the use of technology increases, the size and cost of the tools must decrease to minimize the growing cost of healthcare. “We firmly believe smaller, efficient, and more cost-effective surgical tools like Lantern will fill the gaps left by robotics, moving us towards a new standard of care in orthopedics”, says Timko.

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