Like every other workplace, computers are now gaining entry into the surgical theatres too. Total knee replacement or TRK, is one of the surgeries where computer assistance is gaining popularity.
Opposition has been raised by many old time pioneers challenging the benefits of computer assistance over manual accuracy.
The entire set up consist of three major components: infrared sensors, a guidance screen, and a computer, to control the entire process. The mechanical axis of the leg is determined by attaching sensors to the bone. The location of these sensors is calculated by the computer in three-dimensional space. Accurate placement of new components is achieved by precise alignment of the cutting tools with the mechanical axis.
The procedure has met with some opposition from loyalists of the conventional method. However studies and research have shown the benefits of computer assisted TKR, over the conventional TKR.
Computer aided surgery, significantly improves alignment of the replaced joint with the bones and with the body. It can also help in better ligament balancing, thus better range of moton. It also shortens hospital stay and decreases recovery time. And better aligned knee implants, definitely work better and last longer.
Another advantage with computers, is the avoidance of guide rods in the thigh bone. This significantly reduces blood loss. Infact, surgeons have been able to perform TKR successfully, without any blood transfusion.
There is no more guess work in the surgery. It is performed with greater accuracy and precision. A slightly longer surgery time, an average additional 10 to 15 minutes, is a drawback of the procedure. However, Computer-assisted total knee replacement is very safe. And the accuracy of the implant placement has led some surgeons to use it for routine as well as complicated cases.