Healthwatch: Knee Replacement

Computers are helping people to regain their mobility, according to orthopedic surgeon, Dr. David Pomierski of Rush Hospital. He said this technique is helping get the desired result for patients undergoing knee replacement surgery.

"And when we make the cuts, we have to have a proper amount of tension for the ligaments that remain, so we don't have excessive sloppiness or too tight, so that we can have a good flexion and good extension and that the ligaments are balanced," said Pomierski. "Right now we're using it with total knee replacements. And it's really to help us to make the cuts on the bone and position the components properly."

Pomierski said that helps achieve balance of the soft tissues and provide a good range of motion for the patient.

"The alignment in the knee is important," said Pomierski. "There's a normal alignment between the hip, the knee and the ankle that allows for the components to have a normal wear life, similar to the fact if you didn't realign your tires, if you didn't have them in proper you wouldn't expect to get the proper tread wear that was expected."

Pomierski said the computer is fed data points from the hip, knee, and ankle so it develops a model for that specific person. He said this system helps improve 'wear-ability', making the surgery more appropriate for younger patients to have one replacement over a lifetime, and maybe not have to face a second replacement.

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