With the use of special computers and imaging technology, orthopedic surgeons can confirm proper alignment of knee replacement implants. This computer-assisted navigation technology is especially helpful with patients who are severely overweight or have knee deformity because that can increase the difficulty of the procedure.
A computer-assisted knee replacement procedure begins with the surgeon placing several small transmitters on the patient's leg. An infrared camera is used to track the movement of the transmitters via a computer that analyzes the positions and creates an anatomical drawing of the knee. Using this real-time graphic display, the surgeon makes cuts in the bone to ensure proper alignment on the mechanical axis for the implant. The implant is then secured with bone cement, tested to ensure proper alignment, and the incision is closed with stitches.