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Ex-pro baseball player pain-free thanks to active robot technology available at INOV8 Orthopedics

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Stefan Kreuzer, M.D. of INOV8 Orthopedics is approaching a key milestone with THINK Surgical’s active robot technology.

THINK Surgical, an innovator in the field of orthopedic active robot surgery, has announced that Stefan Kreuzer, M.D.*, of INOV8 Orthopedics, a leading ambulatory surgical center (ASC) in Houston specializing in outpatient total joint procedures, is approaching a key milestone with THINK’s active robot technology.  Dr. Kreuzer has performed nearly 90 procedures** with the TSolution One® Total Knee Application, the only commercially available active robot system for total knee replacement that supports an open implant library. 

One patient who benefitted from this leading-edge technology is Art Howe.  If his name is familiar, that’s because Art played Major League Baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals.  He was also a coach, scout and manager during his professional career.  Art retired from professional baseball at the age of 62.  In his retirement, Art provided pre-and post-game commentary for the Houston Astros.  One evening while leaving the studio after a game, Art was overcome by intense knee pain. 

“It was like someone stabbed me on the inside of my knee and I went down like a pile of bricks,” recalls Art Howe. “The problem was that I had two blocks to walk to my car.  I was literally taking steps in inches because my knee hurt so badly. That’s when I decided to have something done about my knee.” 

Art’s friend recommended Stefan Kreuzer, M.D., the founder of INOV8 Orthopedics. Dr. Kreuzer is an orthopedic surgeon and a world-renowned expert in robotic joint replacement surgery.  

“A friend of mine had gone to Dr. Kreuzer for a hip replacement and he raved about him,” said Art.  “He suggested I see Dr. Kreuzer as well.  I was not disappointed.”

According to Dr. Kreuzer, Art Howe most likely had degenerative arthritis in his knee for some time. 

“Often, people have arthritis for a long time that seems to be well controlled with conservative options such as anti-inflammatory medications,” explains Dr. Kreuzer.  “But sometimes, something will set it off and really exacerbate their symptoms, whether it’s stepping off a curb or while being more active, such as playing golf.  Patients are somewhat surprised and wonder how come they didn’t hurt before and now, all of a sudden, have severe arthritis and excruciating pain. Especially with athletes like Art, they tend to ignore pain for a long time until something sets it off.” 

Based upon the severity of his diseased knee joint, Dr. Kreuzer told Art he was a candidate for a knee replacement and could benefit from having his procedure performed with an innovative technology, the TSolution One Total Knee Application, which features an active robot.  At the time, Dr. Kreuzer was one of five primary surgeons in the United States participating in the Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) study which later provided the safety and efficacy data required for 510(k) clearance of the TSolution One Total Knee Application by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Art’s procedure was part of the IDE study.  

Active Robot Technology 

The TSolution One Total Knee Application consists of TPLAN®, the 3D pre-surgical planning workstation, and TCAT®, the active robot.  Pre-surgical planning allows the surgeon to design and prepare, in a virtual environment, the patient’s personalized joint replacement surgical plan. The active robot aids the surgeon in executing the preoperative surgical plan with automated, hands-free cutting and removal of the diseased bone and cartilage.  The TSolution One Total Knee Application helps surgeons to optimize implant placement based on each patient’s unique anatomy.  

“Every patient is different. The beauty of the TSolution One system is that it gives the surgeon the ability to plan the surgery before entering the operating room, reducing surprises,” said Dr. Kreuzer. “It makes each procedure more predictable.”

Differentiated from its competitors, the TSolution One Total Knee Application has an open platform allowing surgeons to choose from a variety of implants from different manufacturers to individualize each patient’s treatment.  The TSolution One Total Knee Application initially received FDA clearance to support implants from one manufacturer and the current TSolution One system has received FDA clearance to support implants from seven manufactures.

“The challenge with a closed platform, meaning a robotic system that is only able to assist with a single manufacturer’s implants, is that the surgeon’s choices are limited and preferences for each patient may not be accommodated.  Implants from multiple manufacturers give surgeons more options for their patients,” added Dr. Kreuzer.

Life after Knee Replacement

“The day after the procedure, they had me taking a little stroll and walking stairs. I started PT right away after I got home,” recalls Art.

Within a couple of months after the surgery, Art was feeling as he had before he had knee pain. 

“I feel great, and I can take a mile walk around the neighborhood with no issues,” said Art. “My leg doesn’t bother me at all.  It’s not even a concern anymore.” 

“Art was 90% recovered at six weeks and fully recovered at eight weeks.***  With robotic surgery using the TSolution One system, that’s typically what I see. With conventional surgery, my patients generally take a little longer, more like three months,” according to Dr. Kreuzer. “TSolution One patients do very well.  No technology is perfect but, with this system’s active robot that can execute a surgical plan with precision and accuracy and the choice of implants, there is nothing as good as the TSolution One system on the market in my opinion.” 

Dr. Kreuzer and his team look forward to treating more patients with the innovative active robot technology of the TSolution One Total Knee Application.  

“INOV8 was the first ambulatory surgery center in the United States to acquire the TSolution One Total Knee Application in 2020 and every day we see more patients,” says Dr. Kreuzer.  “We are really trying to grow our business and get the word out to patients that this is a great technology that they could really benefit from.”

Photo Caption: 

Stefan Kreuzer, M.D., the founder of INOV8 Orthopedics in Houston, Texas (left) is pictured with his patient, Art Howe, a former Major League Baseball player.  After suffering from excruciating knee pain, Art had a knee replacement with the TSolution One Total Knee Application.  Dr. Kreuzer has performed nearly 90 procedures with the TSolution One, the only commercially available active robot system that features an open implant platform allowing surgeons to choose from a variety of implants from different manufacturers to individualize each patient’s treatment. 

*Dr. Kreuzer is a paid consultant of THINK Surgical, Inc. 

** 38 of Dr. Kreuzer’s cases were performed during the IDE study which provided the safety and efficacy data required for 510(k) clearance of the TSolution One Total Knee Application by FDA.

***Individual results may vary.

THINK Surgical, TSolution One, TPLAN and TCAT are registered trademarks of THINK Surgical, Inc. ©2021 THINK Surgical, Inc. All rights reserved.

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