An Australia-first surgery performed at Hurstville Private

New technology: Clinical Associate Professor Mark Haber has been tasked with completing a new surgery today at Hurstville Private Hospital. Picture: John Veage
New technology: Clinical Associate Professor Mark Haber has been tasked with completing a new surgery today at Hurstville Private Hospital. Picture: John Veage

An Australia-first shoulder surgery using computer assistance will be performed in Hurstville today.

Clinical Associate Professor Mark Haber has been tasked with performing the shoulder surgery at Hurstville Private Hospital.

The surgery will see Professor Haber, and his team, insert an implant into a shoulder joint using new computer technology, as well as re-build the ball in the shoulder socket.

Professor Haber specialises in shoulder surgery and said it was an “honour” to be the first person in Australia to use the new technique.

Specialist: Clinical Associate Professor Mark Haber. Picture: John Veage

Specialist: Clinical Associate Professor Mark Haber. Picture: John Veage

Professor Haber said, previously, the procedure relied on a surgeon’s judgement, eyesight and steady hand. 

He said the procedure had not changed drastically but was now far more accurate, using computer assistance.

The American designers of the new, computer technology have flown over specially to witness the procedure being performed in Australia.

“The computer navigation system is too new for its benefits to be determined accurately, but we are aiming for [big] improvements on the 10-year outcomes of the current techniques,” Professor Haber said.

He explained using computer assistance for this surgery was not only new in Australia but relatively new around the world.

“To my knowledge the first few were done a few months ago in October and November,” he said.

“I think they have done 18 worldwide in the last few months. And we have 10 planned [here in Australia] in the next few weeks.”

The first two patients to receive the new procedure today are two men aged 60 and 76. The operation takes about an hour to complete.

Professor Haber said similar techniques were being used on hips and knees around the world, but shoulder surgery was far more technical. 

“Access to the shoulder joint is much, much harder than the hip and knee. It is technically much harder,” he said.

“It is exciting that CAOS technology has finally arrived for shoulders following the success of similar technological advancements for hip and knee replacements.”

Professor Haber said the popularity of shoulder replacement surgery was increasing in Australia. 

“The number of cases has been growing at nearly 10 per cent year on year because the procedure allows people with severe shoulder pain to return to activities they never thought possible.”

Hurstville Private Hospital became part of Healthe Care in 2012 and has subsequently been extensively expanded and upgraded, developing a reputation for innovative surgical procedures and the use of new technology.