Computer Navigated Hip and Knee Replacement

Orthopaedic Consultant and Trauma Consultant, Mr Reza Jenabzadeh, from BMI Hendon Hospital answers some of the most common questions about computer navigated hip and knee replacements. Find out what Mr Jenabzadeh has to say about this innovative technology.

Mr Reza Jenabzedah
The concept of computer navigation in surgery is well established. This technology allows the surgeon to simultaneously visualise 2 or 3D views of the patient’s anatomy on a monitor, and provide real-time, intra-operative views of surgical instruments and the relative digital positioning of implantable devices. It’s actually more frequently used by neurosurgeons performing intricate brain surgery.

Computer navigated hip and knee replacements are performed in a selected number of hospitals in the UK. It’s important to stress that computer navigation acts as a guide for the surgeon – it’s not the same as robotic surgery, where the computer helps control the movements made by the surgical instruments. 

Mr Reza Jenabzedah
Computer assisted navigation is essentially a ‘mini GPS system’ used by the surgeon during a hip or knee replacement. It uses infra-red technology to ‘align the components properly’ and allows the surgeon to create and execute a surgical plan that will lead to minimal tissue disruption and less bone removal.

Mr Reza Jenabzedah
It can be used for total knee replacement, partial (unicompartmental) knee replacement, total hip replacement and revision hip replacement.

Mr Reza Jenabzedah
This technology was first introduced about 15 years ago, so it’s well-established and not ‘experimental’. Navigation has evolved over the past 15 years and is now the ‘cutting edge’ technology used in joint replacement.

Mr Reza Jenabzedah
Computer navigated surgery improves the precision of implant placement, alignment, soft tissue balancing and restoring mechanical axis of the lower limb. This leads to a much better functional result for the patient.

Some of the main benefits include:

  • Reduced risk of revision surgery
  • Reduced risk of outliers (incorrect positioning)
  • Reduced risk of leg length inequality in hip surgery
  • Reduced risk of fat embolus and blood loss in knee surgery
  • Reduced incision size and soft tissue damage

Mr Reza Jenabzedah
Yes - The Australian Registry which looks at computer navigation has shown that the use of navigation reduces the risk of revision surgery.

Mr Reza Jenabzedah
Any patient undergoing hip or knee replacement will benefit from computer assisted surgery. In particular, complex cases, such as severe deformity, obesity or previous long bone fractures.

Mr Reza Jenabzedah
Most patients want to know the surgeon’s experience in using this technique as specialist training is required. Many patients also see the benefit of using computers in their day to day lives and find it logical that they can be used to improve outcomes.

Mr Reza Jenabzedah
No - computer navigation actually reduces the risk of a fat embolus or bleeding with total knee replacement.

Mr Reza Jenabzedah
Recovery should be no different to traditional surgery. The patient will start walking with the aid of crutches/frame the day after surgery. They will need this for anything up to six weeks. Patients with unicompartmental knee replacements find that their knee feels ‘more natural’ and has a greater bend.

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