As osteoarthritis progresses, the knee becomes more misaligned, stiff, and deformed. Restoring alignment is critical for the long-term success of a knee replacement. Precise position of the implants is another critically important element of the durable knee replacement.
Most knee replacements done today are done using alignment jigs and cutting blocks. These are relatively simple devices that rely on the surgeon’s ability to see and feel when the knee is properly alignment and balanced. Research has demonstrated that experienced surgeons using these traditional methods have limited success in properly balancing and aligning knee replacements.
Computer navigation is a recent advancement in joint replacement surgery. Light-emitting diodes (Figure 1) are attached to the leg. These devices communicate directly with a camera attached to a computer (Figure 2) and allow the surgeon to create digital reproduction of the entire surgery (Figure 3).
Component position, range of motion, ligament tensioning, and overall limb alignment are accurately and clearly viewed at every step during the operation. Errors in techniques that would otherwise go unnoticed can be quickly seen and corrected. Computer navigation used during knee replacement helps to minimize the amount of surgical dissection and to ensure proper positioning of the implants.
Tremendous advances have been made in joint replacement that makes it a viable option for a greater number of people than ever before. Over the past four decades joint replacement has been proven to relieve severe joint pain and restored joint function in over 90% of patients undergoing the procedure.
Accurate alignment of the knee components is critical to the overall function of your new joint, and it also plays a role in helping your joint feel healthy again, and helping the joint replacement to potentially last longer. Computer-assisted technology has made it possible to navigate joint replacement procedures with a level of accuracy so precise it may improve the results of your surgery.
Benefits of MIS-Navigation Knee Replacement
Potential advantages of Computer Navigation:
- Provides comprehensive data about anatomy, alignment, and component position which may result in more exact placement of your joint replacement
- Allows the surgeon to more accurately plan for your surgery with the use of digital images of your hip, knee and ankle
- Provides the surgeon with more control, feedback and the ability to correct potential errors during the surgery
- Allows for better visualization of anatomy with less need for exposure, which is particularly important when minimally-invasive techniques are used
There are several potential benefits for those who have computer-assisted surgery with their total joint replacement, including:
- May increase the life of your replacement
- Reduces the risk of dislocation and revision surgery
- Results in greater stability and range of motion
- Helps improve the overall function of your joint replacement
Computer-assisted surgery may allow for less-invasive surgical techniques, which have several other potential advantages, including:
- Reduced blood loss during surgery, which lessens the need for a blood transfusion
- Faster recovery
- Reduced length of your hospital stay
- Shorter post-operative physical rehabilitation
- Less scarring