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Sanford Computer Assisted Surgery

Frequently asked questions

Why is alignment important in knee and hip replacement surgery?

Alignment is critical to get the best wear and performance from the tires on your car. The same principle applies to your body. When a knee or hip implant is placed inaccurately, it wears faster, decreasing its life span and increasing the potential need for another surgery. Computer assisted surgery aids the surgeon in achieving perfect alignment of the implant 98-100 percent of the time.

How does computer assisted surgery work?

Computer assisted surgery works like a global positioning system, or GPS, in your car by using fixed locations in the body that vary from patient to patient, since everyone's makeup is different.

Before beginning the procedure, the surgeon helps the computer locate specific anatomical landmarks and take critical measurements of the patient's anatomy. Once the computer has this information, it can track the precise position of the patient's body, the implant and the surgeon's instruments at all times during the procedure.

The surgeon still performs the surgery; computer assisted surgery simply puts all the information together for a more precise alignment.

How is computer assisted surgery different from traditional joint replacement surgery?

A surgeon performing traditional hip or knee replacement surgery relies on the art of the procedure, using skill and experience to align the implant. A surgeon performing computer assisted hip or knee replacement surgery combines art with science to perform the procedure, using not only skill and experience but also digital navigation of the patient's body.

Computer assisted surgery software helps surgeons visualize bone structures beyond what they can see through the incision and it helps them take critical measurements throughout the procedure that are not possible without the assistance of computers.

Thanks to a smaller incision and a computer-guided technique, computer assisted surgery causes less trauma to underlying muscle and soft tissue resulting in a smaller scar, less post-operative pain and a faster return to normal activities. In fact, this new hip and knee replacement surgery may allow faster recovery compared to traditional joint replacement surgery.

Who is a candidate for computer assisted surgery?

In general, anyone can benefit from computer assisted surgery. In some cases, due to the size or weight of the patient, the incision must be extended, but the trauma to the surrounding tissue will still be reduced when compared to traditional surgery. Your surgeon will try to keep the incision as small as possible, but there are times when the patient is best served by a larger incision.
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