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Benefits of greater accuracy: How it works?
Transducers applied to leg

Twenty years of research on total knee replacements suggest that mechanical alignment and soft tissue ligament balance are critical factors in success and lifespan of the joints. Navigation provides a powerful tool to improve the precision of mechanical alignment and verify soft tissue balance during the operation.

 

System in use in OR
Prior to navigation, the surgeon would assess pre-operative X-Rays and formulate a plan to correct deformities and align the knee. During surgery, the plan would be executed using metal rods and mechanical guides to determine placement of the knee. The mechanical systems provide only crude methods to determine if the plan was properly executed during surgery. Ligament balancing could only be verified by the “touch of the surgeon. Amazingly, using these crude tools, experienced surgeons can obtain good results lasting 15 years or better for more than 90% of patients.
Knee alignment diagram
In contrast to the metal rods, with navigation, the surgeon uses the navigation computer to create a digital model of each individual patient. The digital model includes alignment of the femur, tibia, individual arthritic deformities of the joint and a dynamic map of ligament balance during movement of the knee. Using navigation, the surgeon plans the surgery using the digital model. Next the plan is transferred to the patient using special wireless instruments to make precise bone cuts according to the plan. The system allows the surgeon to verify the actual bone cuts, and refine them as needed.
   
   
Computer workstation, display and position monitor
Distal femoral cut

Studies using the navigation system show that the expected alignment is achieved more predictably when using the navigation system. In our practice, we expect that this technology will help improve the quality and success of traditional knee replacement, as well as increase the number of patients that may benefit from smaller incision approaches.
 
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