Originally Published: December 23, 2015 6 a.m.
Orthopedic surgeons understand that precise alignment is key to successful joint replacement surgery. Thanks to its Computer-Assisted Navigation system, people undergoing hip and knee replacement at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) can experience the results of this exceptional accuracy: improved joint stability and better range of motion.
Computer-Assisted Navigation technology achieves these excellent outcomes by creating a three-dimensional model of the patient's hip or knee. Orthopedic surgeons use this information to align the artificial joint - hip or knee - with greater precision in the patient's body. Accurate alignment not only is crucial to how the joint feels post-surgery, it also can help the joint replacement last longer.
"I liken it to buying a new set of tires for your car," said YRMC Orthopedic Surgeon Mark Davis, DO. "You can put the tires on your car, but proper alignment is what ensures the tires will operate well. Just like a tire, if the placement of an artificial hip or knee joint is off a few degrees, it doesn't wear as well and, in the case of joint replacement, can be less comfortable."
How does Computer-Assisted Navigation work? An infrared camera, wireless instruments and a computer combine to work like the global positioning systems (GPS) used in cars.
"The computer helps us make intraoperative adjustments that help us to align the knee correctly," said Richard
Bassett, DO, YRMC Orthopedic Surgeon.
The infrared camera calculates and then monitors the location of markers and instruments the orthopedic surgeon places within the patient's joint. The wireless instruments transfer the data to a computer in the YRMC operating room. This information is displayed on the computer monitor as a "blueprint" of the patient's anatomy that the orthopedic surgeon uses to accurately align the hip or knee implant.
"This information ensures the stability and range of motion needed for a successful joint replacement," Dr. Bassett said.
That's good news for many people of western Yavapai County, who are eligible for this procedure.
"Computer-Assisted Navigation is an excellent tool," said Dr. Davis. "I combine it with other strategies - such as muscle-sparing techniques and encouraging people to adopt healthy lifestyle changes - to ensure the best outcomes for patients."
To learn more about orthopedic surgeons at YRMC, visit www.yrmc.org/find-a-doctor and then go to "Medical Staff."