Surgeons tune into iPod
Franciscan St. Francis Health orthopedic surgeons are using new technology in tandem with the iPod touch ® to more effectively treat patients undergoing knee and hip joint replacements.
Timothy Williams, MD, a surgeon with the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports, today (Dec. 4) successfully treated a patient receiving a knee replacement, using a portable navigational system called the Dash ® Smart Instrument Technology by Brainlab. Recently approved by the Food and Drug Administrations, the system is designed to provide the benefits of traditional surgical navigation in a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution.
Unlike more complex computer-assisted surgical navigation systems, the iPod is a common, off-the-shelf device. The nuance is in the actual application.
Williams is the first in Indiana and among the first nationally to tap into the new application, developed by the Germany-based software company, Brainlab.
“This technology allows us to more precisely target the surgical area in a less invasive way,” said Williams. “In the end, this means better outcomes for our patients.”
Here’s how it works: In the operating room, the iPod is placed in a sterile clear bag and inserted into a small cradle with reflective spheres. An infrared camera system, affixed to a mobile, easy-to-maneuver platform. The surgeon touches a digitizing probe mounted to the iPod to surgical landmarks as the navigational system records the information.
Calculations are made in milliseconds, and the camera sends a 3-D image of the treatment area to the surgeon.
“The intuitive navigation provides accurate navigation throughout the procedure and allows the surgeon to make fine-tuned adjustments to surgical instruments to ensure correct placement of artificial knee and hip implants,” Williams said. “Well-placed implants can reduce initial post-operative complications, as well as potential revision surgeries in the future. The Dash technology provides me with information to ensure proper implant placement.”
For more on this technology, you can read this article in the MIT Technology Review or view this short video of the device being demonstrated.