It’s the perfect pairing of technology and human intellect. Using precise measurements, surgeon Justin Kennon, MD, navigates a reverse total shoulder replacement using GPS (guided personalized surgery) technology. Parkwest Medical Center and Dr. Kennon are the first hospital in East Tennessee to offer this advanced computer system that precisely guides surgeons during procedures.
“It’s all the benefit of preoperative planning and computer-assisted surgery technology combined with my intraoperative decision making,” Dr. Kennon said. “The combination of robotic-like technology with shoulder fellowship experience is an absolute game changer for patient outcomes.”
With a CT-scanned, 3D model of the patient’s shoulder, Dr. Kennon can plan the perfect procedure ahead of time and before the first incision.
Training: Extensive shoulder and elbow fellowship training at the Mayo Clinic fueled Dr. Kennon’s passion for using technology to achieve better results for patients. He wanted to bring the benefits of that technology home to East Tennessee. “This has been exciting for me because I pride myself in providing excellent patient care as a doctor, as well as providing top- notch patient outcomes,” he said. “Any tool or technology that allows me to get closer to that perfect outcome is exciting for me.”
First: The first patient to undergo a shoulder replacement with the new technology was Ray Russell, 71, of Dandridge. He says he knew that a shoulder replacement was the only way to ease his pain and restore his mobility. “I’m an ol’ country boy and I’ve worked since I was 8 years old,” Russell said. “My uncles were all construction people. I worked for them every summer and even during breaks from school, pulling wires, doing electrical work, framing houses, carrying concrete block, carrying shingles or putting shingles on a roof.” He had undergone rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders, which helped.
However, this would not solve his problems forever, and eventually the piercing pain began to creep back in. “My right shoulder started hurting and I couldn’t lift it up anymore,” Russell says. “I couldn’t reach anything … something as simple as a coffee cup, medicine, or plates for my wife …” After shoulder replacement with GPS guidance, he is no longer held back by the pain. “I can reach things in the cabinet, I can reach the towels – things like that I couldn’t do before,” Russell says. “I’ve been raking leaves and mowing the yard with a riding lawn mower. That type of thing used to be hard to do because of the pain in my shoulder.”
Dr. Kennon says seeing quality of life restored in patients like Russell makes the investment in new technology completely worthwhile.
“We’re really breaking ground,” he said. “As a surgeon, it’s outstanding to lead the way to better outcomes here in East Tennessee, but more importantly, I feel we owe it to our
patients to provide the best care and treatment possible.”
Leading: Parkwest Medical Center is the first hospital in East Tennessee to implement the guided personalized surgery (GPS) system for shoulder surgery. This advanced surgical platform combines the surgeon’s expertise with a computer system that helps the surgeon visualize a clear path during surgery. Minimally invasive techniques and implant alignment are personalized to the patient’s unique anatomy. Surgeons get real-time visual guidance in total shoulder surgery with advanced accuracy and precision.
Information provided by public relations department of Covenant Health.