Innovation in Joint Replacement
"The first 20 years of joint replacement were focused on innovation in design and technique," said William Carpenter, MD, joint replacement surgeon at Tennessee Orthopaedic Alliance. "We're now trying to refine those techniques."
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, about 53,000 people in the U.S. have shoulder replacement surgery each year, while more than 900,000 undergo knee and hip replacement surgeries. "With hip and knee replacements specifically, there are two technologies we talk about - computer navigation and robotics," Carpenter said.
Computer navigation provides the surgeon information on patient anatomy and implant position during surgery. "During hip replacements, the software integrates with intra-operative X-rays to tell the surgeon real time information about the implant positioning," explained Carpenter. "With knee replacements, the number one goal is to make sure the forces that go through the knees are even inside and out, creating a balanced knee, known as restoring mechanical access. Computer navigation reliably helps achieve that goal."