The Robotic Super Center
A $1 million gift by renowned philanthropists Eli and Edye Broad elevates orthopedic care.
BY LAUREL DIGANGI
PHOTOGRAPHED BY RYAN MILLER
When describing the impact that philanthropists Eli and Edye Broad have had on science, education and the arts, words like “significant” and “enormous” are understatements. Their contributions to Los Angeles culture alone are extraordinary and include co-founding The Broad museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Broad Stage, securing funding to build Walt Disney Concert Hall and funding the LA Opera’s landmark production of the Ring Cycle.
Last year Edye feared she would have to give up attending her beloved symphonies and operas at the same venues she and Eli so generously supported. The reason: osteoarthritis.
“Climbing up and downstairs was very difficult,” she says. “I couldn’t walk very far without pain in my knees.”
Edye had tried minimally invasive procedures in the past, and she felt the time had come for knee replacement surgery. Without hesitation, she contacted Andrew Yun, MD, a leading national expert in orthopedic surgery and director of The Center for Knee and Hip Replacement at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.
“He has a great reputation,” she says. “My friends who had their joints replaced by him were very happy.”
Dr. Yun performed a partial replacement on both of Edye’s knees, four months apart, using Mako robotic-arm assisted technology, which combines computer-assisted surgery with robotic technology. Edye’s surgery was so successful that she and Eli decided to make a major contribution to Saint John’s, establishing The Broad Center for Robotic Joint Replacement.
“The entire experience was very positive,” says Edye. “Our foundation supports medical and scientific research, and we wanted to do something meaningful for Saint John’s.”
The Broads were interested in making sure as many patients as possible have the opportunity to receive the most advanced orthopedic care.
“We were thrilled with the success of the replacement,” Eli says. “When we heard that there was a need for an additional robotic arm, we wanted to ensure that Dr. Yun would be able to continue this important work and decided to make a contribution.”
The Mako robotic arm-assisted technology helps surgeons personalize surgery based on a specific patient’s diagnosis and anatomy. The technology uses a patient’s CT scan to create a 3-D model of the damaged knee joint. Dr. Yun uses this model to pre-plan the surgery. Once in the operating room, he guides the robotic arm within the pre-defined area, and the Mako System helps him stay within these boundaries. The system ensures a more accurate placement of the implants and better soft tissue protection to the ligaments around the knee, resulting in shorter recovery times and better patient outcomes.
Dr. Yun will use the third robotic arm to train other surgeons.
“Thanks to my long-time colleague, Dr. Kevin Ehrhart, for seeing the promise and for soliciting the support of the foundation, we were early adopters of this new technology because we felt a responsibility to leverage any tool to give our patients better outcomes,” he says. “Now with three Mako robots, we’re not only the busiest and fastest-growing robotic orthopedics program in the country, but more importantly, we’re also recognized as the top-performing center in the country. The Broads’ level of support has allowed us to transition into a robotic super-center. We are deeply grateful to them for their support of our program.”
The Broads’ support recognizes the high quality of care patients receive from Dr. Yun and his colleagues, says Bob Klein, president and CEO of the Saint John’s Health Center Foundation.
“We’re so thankful to Mr. and Mrs. Broad for their gift to expand the orthopedic robotics program,” Klein says. “This gift not only helps us expand services, but it also signals to the larger community that this program is worthy of major support. This type of philanthropy is absolutely critical to bringing state-of-the-art medical care to more people.”
Edye was impressed with the professionalism, efficiency and thoroughness of Dr. Yun and his staff, from pre-op education to post-op recovery.
“They gave me a book that explained everything, and they have a two-hour class where they answer every conceivable question,” she says. Her surgery went smoothly, as did her recovery. “I woke up and felt no pain—I was still waiting for them to do the surgery,” says Edye.
Recovery was also brisk. The fourth night after her second knee replacement surgery, she felt well enough to have dinner with Eli and their friends. “I brought ice packs with me, and we sat in a booth so I could put my leg up,” she says.
Today, Edye is pain-free and enjoying the active life she had pre-surgery. “I’m walking without pain now,” she says. “Best of all I can enjoy the opera and symphony season, walking up and down the steps like everyone else.”