If you thought Star Trek’s Dr. McCoy had inventive medical tricks up his sleeve as he cured his crew mates, it may surprise you to know how close today’s medical technology is to the Enterprise’s gizmos. 

Medicine is undergoing a pivotal shift, offering innovative technological advances to benefit the best and brightest physicians, nurses and staff while enriching scientific knowledge, rigorously developed skills and good judgment to help those in need – patients.

The following are five amazing developments helping to change the world of medicine. Read on to learn how medical facilities in Collin County are investing in the latest technology to stay at the forefront of innovative care. 

1. MAKOPlasty Robotic Arm for Partial Knee Resurfacing

In the past, traditional partial and full knee replacement surgeries required multiple aggressive cuts on the knee – causing substantial bleeding and a long recovery time. Today, the MAKOPlasty Orthopedic System provides a surgeon-controlled robotic arm to assist in precisely placing a custom-designed implant for portions of a patient’s knee.

This custom implant and robotic technology is performed using a small, four- to six-inch incision on the knee, leading to a faster recovery and less pain. Uniquely trained for this procedure, Dr. Richard Rhodes of Texas Health Physicians Group, Elite Orthopedics and Sports Medicine notes, “This technology eliminates the guess factors of partial knee replacement. Everything is based on imaging studies before the surgery, isolating the bone anatomy from the soft tissue, and then I make real-time adjustments within the surgery itself. Overall, my patients have benefitted greatly from this procedure, experiencing less bone pain and requiring less rehabilitation.” 

Patient Diane Howell agrees. She had knee pain much of her life, and balked when she was told she needed two full knee replacements three years ago. “I found Dr. Rhodes, and he recommended a completely different option with the MAKOPlasty, using the robotic arm,” Howell says. “My experience was very successful. I completed the procedure for both knees (one at a time), and each time, the pain was surprisingly manageable; in fact, I was walking unassisted within a week.”

She’s pleased to note that she can now participate in numerous activities that she was unable to before her surgery, including yoga, standing in church to sing and shopping.

2. da Vinci Surgical System

Although they have been used since the late ’80s, medical robots are increasingly being used in surgeries, helping to reduce human error and allowing for more precise movements and intricate surgical placements. One such device is the da Vinci Surgical System, a $1.75 million robotic model that operates like a person’s arm, enabling “repetitive controlled actions as appointed by the surgeon from a computer.”

Baylor McKinney Director of Surgical Services Marty Murff explains: “The da Vinci robot allows laparoscopic procedures in three primary areas: urology for prostate procedures, OB/GYN for hysterectomies, and various other colon and rectal surgeries. Because of the extremely precise movements allowed by the da Vinci, we have seen a much higher patient satisfaction and patient care level. The robot is minimally invasive, allows less blood loss, and delivers faster recovery times.” 

3. Stryker Navigation System

Typically used for ear, nose and throat  procedures, the Stryker Navigation system allows for very accurate assessment of tumors or other specific surgical sites. The Stryker lets surgeons more precisely track their movements within the sinus cavity,brain and spine.

Patients first receive a CT or MRI scan to map the area, and the scan is then compared to the actual anatomy. During surgery, an infrared camera and tracking software help guide surgeons as they operate, displaying an image of the surgical site on a large screen.

Dr. Richard Thrasher from The Ear Nose and Throat Center of Texas explains: “Image-guided surgery, such as the tech¬nology utilized by the Stryker Navigation system, has been a tremendous asset in sinus surgery. During sinus surgery, we are operating within millimeters of both the brain and the eye, and there is a risk to both during the surgery. Systems such as the Stryker Navigation system provide the most advanced, real-time ability to clear diseased tissue from structures that are adjacent to the eye and brain without damaging those organs.”

4. Arctic Sun – Hypothermia Treatment for Cardiac Arrest

Therapeutic hypothermia is a medi¬cal treatment used to lower a person’s body temperature to reduce injury to a patient’s tissues and organs following a period of insufficient blood flow, such as a heart attack or stroke. 

Medical Center of McKinney uses the Arctic Sun Temperature Management System and is having tre-mendous success with it, officials say. 

Dr. Tim Hartman, the hospital’s Emergency Services Medical Director, explains: “Typically following cardiac arrest, cells in the brain begin to deteriorate due to the lack of oxygen being supplied to the brain. By cooling the body through applying spe¬cialized circulating gel cooling pads, we can slow inflammation in the brain and potentially reduce brain damage to the patient.” 

Patients generally stay in this cooled state for 12 to 24 hours, depending on the severity of the injury and the patient’s response. 

Sean Floyd, Trauma and Stroke Manager at Medical Center of McKinney, says: “Each patient is different, but I have seen extremely positive results from this treat¬ment – even increasing the chances for a full recovery by 35 percent. Our goal with the hypothermia cooling therapy is to see patients leave the hospital with no brain damage, resuming a normal life, both physically and mentally.” 

5. InTouch Telemedicine Remote Presence 

In the event of a stroke, minutes can make the difference between recovery and irreparable damage. Medical Center of McKinney uses InTouch Health’s Remote Presence to provide accelerated neurological care and expert collabora¬tion 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“The Telemedicine Remote Presence allows neurologists to evaluate and pre¬scribe treatment for stroke victims even if they are not physically located in the patient’s room, allowing expedited care as well as collaboration with other neurolo¬gists and professionals, if needed,” Floyd says. “We have been very pleased with the results, creating better outcomes for our patients.”


About the author: Carolyn Cameron is a local marketer and freelance writer. She enjoys spending time with her three young boys and family, reading and running.