Navigation Systems Used in Knee Replacement Surgery - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/19/05

Navigation Systems Used in Knee Replacement Surgery

Orthopedic surgeon Doctor William Sadlack gets some high tech help as he performs total knee replacement surgery. He is among the first surgeons in Washington to use an image guided navigation system for this type of surgery. "This tells me where I am at all times, where I need to go, and when I'm there," says Doctor William Sadlack.  

Here's how it works: infra-red bulbs are strategically placed on the leg from the hip to the knee to the ankle. Cameras on the navigation system read the information from the infra-red bulbs. A computer calculates the readings and then gives the surgeon precise information on everything from where to cut the bone to how to position the implant. "In the past it was clinical judgment, using a guide system that was placed on the bone, and you looked at it, and with your own eyes, and your own intuition, and your own experience you judged where the knee implant is to go," says Doctor William Sadlack.

Doctor Sadlack says the information provided by the navigational system also helps reduce the amount of damage done to the muscles and ligaments surrounding the knee. Also it increases the likelihood that the leg will be aligned just right and the knee properly balanced. "So the patient can walk without a limp and also can walk with a straight leg," says Doctor William Sadlack.

All of that should help speed up the patient's recovery. Arthur Rollins is recovering from his second knee replacement surgery. The navigational system was used in the most recent operation and rollins says he notices a difference:  "I'm walking farther, and moving better, and lifting my leg farther, but... You know it's still very painful," says Arthur. The navigation system can be used on any patient and doctor sadlack says he doesn't see any drawbacks. "It doesn't obviate the need for your own judgment, but it's like having a guardian angel on your back," says Doctor William Sadlack. 

Starting this fall the navigation system will be available for hip replacement surgery as well.

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