Total Knee Arthroplasty

Computer-assisted surgery is surgery that is performed with the aid of computer technology.


Computers can take the “guess work” out of surgery. It allows the surgery to be done with greater precision and accuracy.

Why is it important in knee replacement?

Many studies have shown that knee replacements that are performed well (for example, well-aligned and balanced) are likely to last longer and feel better. In addition, it can shorten the hospital stay and decrease recovery time. Computer-assisted surgery can help the surgeon align the patient’s bone and implants with a degree of accuracy not possible with the naked eye. It can also help in ligament balancing that can ensure better range of motion and a more natural functioning knee replacement.

What are other benefits of computer-assisted surgery?

Computer-assisted surgery increases the precision and accuracy, and gives the surgeon real-time feedback during the surgery. This procedure also decreases errors by alerting the surgeon to potential pitfalls before they are performed. It gives the surgeon the confidence to perform the surgery with precision and control.


Potential Complications

 Computer-assisted total knee replacement is very safe. Because surgeons who use computer-assisted surgery utilize instruments that do not disturb the marrow, it is believed that it is safer than traditional surgery. Moreover, it lead to less blood loss and may lead to the decrease in blood transfusion requirement after the surgery.


Does it take additional time to perform?

Like any technology, there is a learning curve for both the surgeon and the OR staff. In hospitals where surgeons and OR staff embrace computer-assisted surgery, computer-assisted surgery adds, on average, an additional 10 -15 minutes to the procedure. Some surgeons perform computer-assisted surgery in less time than conventional procedures. At the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, most computer-assisted total knee replacements take under an hour to perform.

Is it necessary for all total knee replacements?

Many surgeons employ computers in patients with severe deformity or malalignment. Others believe that computer-assisted surgery is helpful in all patients, not just difficult ones. Precision and accuracy is beneficial in all patients.

Are all surgeons trained in computer-assisted surgery?

Like all other complex technology, not all individuals are trained in computer-assisted surgery. It is more time consuming than standard surgery and requires trained OR personnel. Moreover, many hospitals are reluctant to spend the money to purchase expensive computer technology. With the added OR time, personnel training and technology costs, it is difficult for many facilities to offer this procedure.

Can computer-assisted surgery be performed through smaller incisions?

Computer-assisted surgery allows the surgeon to “see” more with the aid of the computer. It is a perfect partner to smaller incision procedure. Since the surgery is performed with greater accuracy, the patient can reap the benefit of less invasive procedure without sacrificing precision of the procedure.

Is there additional cost to the patient?

Although computer-assisted surgery cost more to perform, the additional cost is not typically passed on to the patient. The cost is absorbed by the hospital. Moreover, since potential complications can be prevented and recovery is accelerated, cost can be contained overall.

Is computer-assisted total knee replacement available at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute?

Yes, all of our surgeons and staff are trained in computer-assisted knee replacement surgery.

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