YOUR HEALTH: Balance bots, more precise total knee replacements

Robotic surgery has become standard procedure.
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 6:47 AM CST
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CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Each year, more than 800,000 people undergo knee replacement surgery in the United States. Today, 90 percent of all knee replacements last ten years and 80 percent last 20 years. Robotic surgery has become standard procedure. Now, a new technique is giving surgeons a way to be even more precise, allowing patients to heal faster and get back out there doing what they love.

From the everyday wear and tear to the extreme — the knee is the most injured joint in the body.

Orthopedic knee specialist, Jeffrey H. DeClaire, MD was one of the first to perform a total knee replacement. Now, he is one of the first to use a navigation software that not only makes sure the new knee is in the exact right spot, but the ligaments are as well.

“The BalanceBot is a method to measure ligament tension throughout the full range of motion on the inner half of the knee and the outer half of the knee,” Dr. DeClaire explains.

Traditionally, surgeons used their own experience and standard guidelines to position the ligaments around the implant.

Dr. DeClaire adds, “It didn’t include the tension or the balance of ligaments.”

Now, BalanceBot is taking out the guesswork. The system creates a 3D model in real time of the patient’s movement. After surgeons open the knee, two paddles on the BalanceBot are inserted, recording range of motion. The software then proposes an initial implant plan based on the anatomy of each individual patient. The software can predict how much of the ligament should be saved to optimize balance and joint stability.

Clinical trials on more than 1,200 patients show a satisfaction of almost 98 percent, compared to 75 to 80 percent with a traditional knee replacement. With this method, ligament releases have been drastically reduced, which means less trauma to the tissue, quicker recovery, and better outcomes. Each surgery then goes into a database and AI continually updates outcomes and learns from each surgery, ultimately improving results each time.

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