Interviewer: Thank you so much for joining me here today Dr. Amanatullah. Um, I really appreciate it. I just wanted to pick your brain a little bit today for our podcast on new technology in hip and knee replacement. How are you doing today?

Dr. Amanatullah: I’m doing great! Can’t wait to talk about this topic. There’s a lot of new things going on and it’d be great to, you know, demystify and maybe see and talk about what’s promising coming up in the future.

Interviewer: Absolutely. Wonderful. So now I know you’ve taken some time to discuss with us in the past the growing technology in implants and infection treatment in your field, but I’d love to hear a little more about some of the areas of your field being affected by the rapid development of technology. So how have you seen these changes in the way the procedures are performed, or the development of new technology affecting how protocol is gone about?

Dr. Amanatullah: So I think there’s two interesting trends that are interacting with each other. So, you would imagine that surgery would be a highly technologically innovative field and, in fact, we were — we are. You see lots of things like computer-assisted surgery where basically we input data into a computer and the computer helps us plan the operative procedure. And we also see the rise of robotics surgery where people are actually using robots to help us position implants. And then we’ve seen technologies come to actually change the implants themselves. People may have heard of metal-on-metal implants and this brings up the second trend which is that there’s not just a technology trend, there’s an anti-technology trend. Meaning. What do I mean by that? I mean that some things in joint replacement are really really good already and it may be that the tried and true things are just too hard to beat. So i’ll give you an example. We added metal-on-metal joint replacements to an already good procedure and it was an unmitigated disaster with recalled implants and patients being hurt. Um, so what I would say is we want to be very cautious about the imp— the technologies that we use especially as they pertain to the implant itself. But the advancement of technology for sure is here to stay. But people have also come to question whether you need computers or robots or other things to actually do a perfectly good surgery for a patient that performs amazingly well. So I think what I’d like to do is put in a point of caution is that the newest and latest and greatest really hasn’t proven itself to be the best. And we know some things that are really really good, and so it’s an important thing to have an intelligent discussion about this with your surgeon about which things are new, which things are tried and true and to balance those things correctly for each patient.

Interviewer: Absolutely. Yeah, it sounds like there’s been a lot going on with the technological developments and how that affects all these replacement surgeries and new technology that gets incorporated into it. I’d love to hear a little more about some of the positive impacts you might see throughout this. Um, and some of what we might expect if, you know, someone was going into a surgery. What they might see more often with these new technological ___ as a potential offer in this area.

Dr. Amanatullah: Yeah I think a couple of things will happen here moving forward. So there’s a…some trends that have come to challenge how a knee replacement is done. What do I mean by that? I mean that traditionally the way we’ve thought about a knee replacement is that the angle of the bony cuts determines how good the knee replacement is. New technologies have shown us that it may be the force in the ligaments of the knee that patients feel more than the bony cuts. And new devices have come online that show us how much force are in each ligament. And we’ve recently begun to try to use this to understand how both bony cuts and ligamentous force interact with each other to give us a well-performing knee. What, I think,  you’ll see that affect the future is – surgeons may custom tune the amount of force that a particular knee replacement has and may affect their bony cuts moving forward. I think that this will emerge more and more over time as we understand how to use not just angles and amounts of cuts, but how to use those angles and cuts to get the right force for each patient’s knee. I think this is just emerging and just in the beginning. Um, for hip replacements I think that there are other advanced concepts that are coming onboard which is one of the components, the component at the pelvis, needs to be at a particular position for the patient so they can sit, stand, and do all the activities that they want without dislocating. Some surgeons believe that that position could be optimized by getting x-rays and controlling the position of the component with augmented reality or surgeries— sorry, surgical robots. So as we gain more control over position we may be able to customize the position of implants to give some optimal performance to a hip replacement. So I think you’ll see these two trends emerge. The question, I think, that remains that I brought up before is do they do what they promise to do not just in a few patients but in large scale surgery as, not just the inventors figure out how to use it, but as everyone — all of the people performing joint replacements — agree on the right way to do and add this technology. So I think those two trends are for sure coming. There are other trends in hip and knee replacement as well, but I think these are the ones that patients will see moving forward.

Interviewer: Wonderful. That’s great to know. Um, so what are some of your…what are your opinions about this date. You know, is technology helping us? Is it hurting us? What are your opinions on this?

Dr. Amanatullah: Yeah I think in general I think patients, while I understand patients desire to get the latest and greatest thing, I do think the cautionary tale is a good one. What I would reinforce that with is that…hip replacements are amazing in general. Even with the rudimentary, let’s say, technology we use now. Just your surgeon and the just the patient’s anatomy, and maybe an x-ray. That procedure is 95%, more than 95%, successful at 20 years meaning 95% of the implants are in place 20 years later and they’re gonna keep going longer and longer and longer. That’s a hard…that’s a hard number to beat. And it’s very similar for knee replacements. It can be up to 85 to 92%. So, if you talk about making that better, uh, you know if you had a baseball player who is hitting a 980, everyone would want him on their team. That’s what we bat now, and we’re trying to bat 1000. And that’s a tough, tall order. So what I’d say is surgery now is amazing. It is an amazingly advanced technology as it sits, just being able to replace a joint replacement. But we’re working on making it better. The cautionary tale inside of that is any change most likely might make it worse but we’re not gonna stop looking for perfect.

Interviewer: Thank you so much for all of this information Dr. Amanatullah. I really appreciate you taking the time today to sort of run this down and dive in deep. Once again it’s been great talking to you and I appreciate just all of the information you’re able to provide us.

Dr. Amanatullah: Absolutely. Anytime. Happy to talk about these things and look forward to our next conversation.

Interviewer: Great thank you so much Dr. Amanatullah.