Total Knee Arthroplasty With a Computer-navigated Saw: A Pilot Study

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Abstract

Background

Computer-aided surgery aims to improve implant alignment in TKA but has only been adopted by a minority for routine use. A novel approach, navigated freehand bone cutting (NFC), is intended to achieve wider acceptance by eliminating the need for cumbersome, implant-specific mechanical jigs and avoiding the expense of navigation.

Questions/Purposes

We determined cutting time, surface quality, implant fit, and implant alignment after NFC of synthetic femoral specimens and the feasibility and alignment of a complete TKA performed with NFC technology in cadaveric specimens.

Methods

Seven surgeons prepared six synthetic femoral specimens each, using our custom NFC system. Cutting times, quality of bone cuts, and implant fit and alignment were assessed quantitatively by CT surface scanning and computational measurements. Additionally, a single surgeon performed a complete TKA on two cadaveric specimens using the NFC system, with cutting time and implant alignment analyzed through plain radiographs and CT.

Results

For the synthetic specimens, femoral coronal alignment was within ± 2° of neutral in 94% of the specimens. Sagittal alignment was within 0° to 5° of flexion in all specimens. Rotation was within ± 1° of the epicondylar axis in 97% of the specimens. The mean time to make cuts improved from 13 minutes for the first specimen to 9 minutes for the fourth specimen. TKA was performed in two cadaveric specimens without complications and implants were well aligned.

Conclusions

TKA is feasible with NFC, which eliminates the need for implant-specific instruments. We observed a fast learning curve.

Clinical Relevance

NFC has the potential to improve TKA alignment, reduce operative time, and reduce the number of instruments in surgery. Fewer instruments and less sterilization could reduce costs associated with TKA.

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