Southern NH Health robotic

The Mako system sits ready for knee replacement patients in the operating room at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua.

SolutionHealth explains how robotic assistance has improved procedures and outcomes.

Every day, new advances in medicine are helping people live longer, healthier lives — if they have access to world-class care.

Together, Elliot Health System in Manchester and Southern New Hampshire Health in Nashua founded SolutionHealth on the belief that they could provide patients across southern New Hampshire with the latest innovations in medicine close to home.

At Southern New Hampshire Health, recently the focus has been on expanding their suite of robotic surgery options to align with those available at The Elliot in order to provide all of southern New Hampshire with the latest treatment options to help ensure the best possible clinical outcomes.

In the operating rooms at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, surgeons have long offered robotic-assisted surgery using the da Vinci surgical system. The system is used for robotic-assisted minimally invasive procedures by cardiologists, colorectal surgeons, general surgeons, gynecological surgeons, head and neck surgeons, thoracic surgeons, and urologic surgeons. The existing system in Nashua is set to be upgraded, meaning patients will experience the most accurate, safe and successful robotic-assisted surgery available.

Mako system

In orthopedics, building on the positive outcomes seen with Mako robotic arm-assisted total knee replacement at The Elliot, Dr. Andrew Garber and Dr. Anand Padmanabha are now offering the service in Nashua. This state-of-the-art technology uses 3D imaging to plan your procedure ahead of time and assist the surgeon as they perform the total knee replacement.

First, a CT scan of the knee is performed. That scan is used to design an individually tailored procedure plan. It is uploaded into the Mako software program, which then creates a 3D model of each individual patient’s knee. In the operating room, the surgeon follows a personalized surgical plan to prepare the bone for a Triathlon Total Knee implant, which is designed to replicate the body’s natural arc of motion.

“The Mako system provides real-time feedback during the procedure, allowing for more precise implant positioning and finely tuned adjustments,” said Garber. “The robotic arm is linked with the Mako software intra-operatively to ensure that we hit our preoperative goals. The Mako system also has haptic feedback which controls the limits of resection and prevents us from going beyond our pre-set boundaries, adding another level of safety for the patient.”

7D Surgical System

Unique to Southern New Hampshire Health is the 7D Surgical System that uses cameras instead of X-ray radiation to precisely place tools and implants in the spine, as well as identifying brain lesions with submillimeter accuracy. When used with a robotic arm, surgeons can drill and place spinal screws through a small incision, minimizing tissue trauma and reducing post-surgical pain.

Also unique to Southern New Hampshire Health is a protocol using fluorescent dye during surgery to treat high-grade astrocytoma — a type of advanced stage brain tumor. Neurosurgeon Dr. Tung Nguyen is pioneering the technique across SolutionHealth, and all of southern New Hampshire.

“When treating patients with high-grade astrocytoma, my goal is to completely resect the tumor, however, with traditional techniques, it can be very difficult to determine tumor from normal brain tissue,” Nguyen explained. “By giving patients a drug called 5-ALA, a naturally occurring substance, the tumor will fluoresce and appear pink under a special light filter attached to the microscope. Used with the 7D Surgical System, the tumor is illuminated. I can clearly see the tumor in real time, which allows me to completely resect the tumor.”

Best of all, the tumor can be removed quickly with no radiation.

Along with the robotic surgery options available at The Elliot, Southern New Hampshire Health’s latest innovations round out a complete suite of treatments.

“We’re pleased to be able to provide the latest advances to the people of Nashua,” said Interim Southern New Hampshire Health President Colin McHugh. “Patients have a choice when it comes to surgery, and it’s important that we offer the full spectrum of options to patients across both campuses that make up SolutionHealth.”

Saturday, April 17, 2021