Live Knee Surgery

 Swedish Surgeons Perform Live Knee Surgery Online
(Viewer Discretion Advised)

On Tuesday, March 15, 2011 from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Pacific Time-US), surgeons from the Swedish Orthopedic Institute offered the opportunity to see a knee surgery in a way that has rarely been done before by a healthcare system. Sean Toomey, MD, an orthopedic surgeon, repaired the knee of a patient, streamed live online. The webcast was moderated by orthopedic surgeon James Crutcher, MD. The patient, identified by Dr. Toomey as a candidate for a partial knee replacement procedure, volunteered and consented to have his knee replacement surgery streamed live.*

The live webcast provided a rare front row seat into advances in surgical technology, featuring new robotic-assisted technology for knee replacements. During the surgery, the video portion of the webcast was embedded below, and was accompanied by a live chat. Viewers sent questions during the procedure using the live chat features (no login or account needed) or via Twitter using hash tag #livekneesurgery and were answered by the narrating physician during the webcast. Anyone interested in learning about orthopedic options at Swedish or surgical technology were encouraged to join the web stream.

Swedish is first in the region to adopt the most current and advanced knee replacement devices, including robotic technology, which assist surgeons by removing and resurfacing only the arthritic part of a knee without sacrificing the entire knee joint. These devices are used in minimally invasive procedures that are performed through a two to three inch incision, which allows the surgeon to preserve as much of the natural bone and tissue as possible while offering less scarring and blood loss, a shorter hospital stay and the ability to return to everyday activities much sooner than with traditional knee replacement surgeries.


Watch part one of the livestream (or click here if the video window does not display to watch it in a separate window):


Watch part two of the livestream (or click here to watch it in a separate window if the video is not displayed below):


Watch part three of the livestream (or click here to watch in a separate window if you do not see the video below):


Schedule of Events (Tuesday, March 15, 2011, 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Pacific Time-US):

7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. – Anatomy of the Knee
Live webcast begins. Drs. Crutcher and Toomey will lead a discussion about the anatomy of a knee, joint and knee replacements, and the vast need for these treatments in our community. The doctors will also discuss the first case and why the patient is in need of a knee replacement. They will discuss treatment options for the patient and highlight benefits of conducting knee surgery using Swedish’s most advanced technologies.

8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Knee Surgery
Surgery begins. Live webcast will alternate between operating room and a separate conference room where Dr. James Crutcher will be moderating the webcast, answering questions and providing a running discussion and analysis of the surgery.

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. – Behind the Scenes of the Swedish OR
Surgery concludes. The stream continues as the surgical team returns the operating room to its original condition, providing viewers with a behind-the-scenes look into the OR.

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Discussion
Throughout the webcast, we will use Twitter (via @Swedish) and the chat box on the right to discuss the Swedish Orthopedic Institute and the newest robotic technologies that are available. Viewers can submit questions about the surgery, robotic technology, or the Swedish Orthopedic Institute directly to @Swedish on Twitter or the live chat to the right. Questions may be answered by the moderating medical professionals on camera.

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Anatomy of the Knee
Live webcast concludes. Drs. Crutcher and Toomey will recap the surgical activities, webcast information and offer up suggestions for next steps for interested viewers.


Review the conversation on Twitter from #livekneesurgery, questions submitted by viewers, and pictures from behind the scenes:


Why a live knee surgery?

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than 500,000 people undergo surgery each year to have arthritic and damaged knees replaced. New technology is making recovery time shorter than ever, allowing patients to return to an active lifestyle. Swedish is home to the latest technological advancements in robotic-assisted knee surgery. This exclusive technology is currently available in Seattle only at Swedish.

The technology is designed to provide quicker recovery and better surgical results for patients with joint and knee problems. These advancements also offer younger patients the option to receive less invasive surgical knee treatments, preventing impending knee conditions from progressing or developing in later years. Drs. Toomey and Crutcher are part of an elite group of physicians in the country to perform this procedure.

Robotic-assisted knee surgery is a treatment option for some people living with early to mid-stage osteoarthritis in the medial (inner), patellofemoral (top), or lateral (outer) compartments of the knee. It is a minimally invasive partial knee replacement procedure that makes it possible to precisely repair a knee with minimal blood loss and a smaller incision allowing patients to recover much faster than a traditional knee replacement.

During the surgery, the diseased portion of the knee is resurfaced, without compromising the patient’s healthy bone and surrounding tissue. An implant is then secured in the joint to allow the knee to move smoothly again.


*NOTE: Sometimes during these procedures the surgeon determines that a full knee replacement without robot assistance is necessary. During the entire webcast, the patient’s safety is Swedish’s number one priority. The webcast will be streamed at the doctor’s discretion.

** The information provided in this webcast is presented for educational purposes only. It is intended to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician.


Questions or comments about the Webcast:
Dana Lewis, (@danamlewis | @Swedish)

Media Inquiries:
(206) 405-6481, (@swedish)
Aaron Blank, (206) 343-1543, (@SeattleBlank)


For more information:






Meet the Surgeons:

Sean D. Toomey, M.D., Webcast Surgeon
Dr. Sean Toomey is a fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon who specializes in primary and revision hip and knee replacement. He practices at Orthopedic Physician Associates and is a Swedish-affiliated physician performing more than 300 hip and knee replacement procedures each year. He is actively involved in clinical research on alternative bearings for hip replacement surgery, and newer more innovative designs of knee replacement, including performing the first robotic assisted knee replacement in Seattle. Dr. Toomey has published research in peer-reviewed journals and has given lectures on joint replacement topics both nationally and internationally. Dr. Toomey is committed to using the best techniques available for patients today, while working to improve surgical options for patients in the future.
Dr. Toomey became interested in orthopedic surgery as he grew up watching his father, Dr. Hugh (Pete) Toomey, also a joint replacement specialist, interact with patients. Dr. Sean Toomey, formerly the Assistant Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Swedish Medical Center, was instrumental in contributing to the clinical and operational design of Swedish Orthopedic Institute. Dr. Toomey is an avid soccer player, and played collegiately for the University of Notre Dame. He now enjoys coaching his kids playing soccer, as well as teaching them to snow ski.

James P. Crutcher, Jr., M.D., Webcast Moderator

Dr. James Crutcher is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in joint replacement surgery of the hip and knee. He has advanced training in surgery for arthritis of the hip and knee, including degenerative, traumatic, and congenital conditions. He is a Swedish-affiliated physician who has been in practice at Orthopedic Physician Associates since 1990. Dr. Crutcher performs more than 400 hip and knee replacement procedures each year. In his practice he uses up-to-date surgical techniques and biomaterials to restore the quality of life for patients who have arthritic conditions of the hip and knee.

Dr. Crutcher was Chief of the Department of Orthopedics at Swedish Medical Center from 2004-2008. During his tenure as chief, he helped develop the Swedish Orthopedic Institute. Dr. Crutcher is a native of Seattle who enjoys outdoor recreation in the Northwest, especially cycling, skiing, and hiking. He also enjoys music, travel, sports, and sharing all of these activities with his family.