SOMC’s Virtual Technology Used In Knee Replacements

Southern Ohio Medical Center is the first hospital in the area to bring greater precision to knee replacements through new virtual technology.

“By creating reference points on the bone and tracking natural movement prior to replacing the knee, we can create a virtual replica of the patient’s range of motion,” orthopaedic surgeon Gerardo Trinidad, MD, explains.

“With the model on screen in front us while we position the new joint, we can more accurately recreate the natural position and movement of the original knee.”

Using orthopaedic navigation technology created by Stryker, the surgeon moves an instrument within a patient’s joint, the infrared sensors calculate its position and smart wireless instruments instantaneously transfer the data to a computer in the operating room.

This information is then displayed as an interactive model of the anatomy or “blueprint” that supplies the surgeon with the optimum angles, lines and measurements needed to align the implant within the patient.

“This is like a global positioning system (GPS) to provide greater precision for the surgeon,” Dr. Trinidad explains. “Precise alignment is an important factor that may reduce joint wear and extend the life of the implant. Use of the system has many potential benefits including improved joint stability and range of motion.”

Dr. Trinidad has been on staff at SOMC since 1999, has performed thousands of knee replacements and is referenced in a new medical textbook on knee procedures, “Minimally Invasive Total Joint Arthroplasty.” He finds the technology an exciting new development in orthopaedics.

“The future of orthopaedic surgery will definitely include more of this approach,” he says. “Using technology like this to provide a precise virtual map of a patient’s orthopaedic anatomy will lead to procedures with smaller incisions, less trauma to tissue and greater precision in joint repair and replacement.”

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) about 500,000 hip and knee replacement procedures are performed annually in the United States. This figure is expected to increase as the population ages and arthritis affects more people. Currently, more than 70 million Americans suffer from some form of this degenerative disease.