NAVIO robot-assisted partial knee replacement

Posted on: September 3, 2015

Amazing New Mobility after Advanced NAVIO Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

By Dr. Victor Khabie

Recently, advanced NAVIO robot-assisted partial knee replacement surgery was performed for iStock_18235142_RET3_HiRezthe first time in New York State at Northern Westchester Hospital. The technology uses sophisticated computer modeling that lets the surgeon create a unique, individualized surgical plan and then simulate that plan prior to surgery. The result is a transformation of partial knee replacement surgery – a great leap forward in precision and accuracy. The result for patients? A remarkable new option that restores natural movement as never before possible.

When painful and debilitating arthritis of the knee limits a person’s day-to-day activities, and all non-surgical measures have failed, the person is a candidate for knee replacement surgery. When it affects the whole knee, surgeons perform a full knee replacement. But when arthritis affects only part of the knee, most surgeons still perform a full knee replacement because until now, a partial replacement was a difficult and imprecise procedure. So much so that up to 30 percent of people getting a full knee replacement are actually candidates for a partial knee replacement.

Partial knee replacement requires that the implant synchronize perfectly with the remaining healthy portion of the knee, leaving almost zero leeway for surgical error. If the surgeon miscalculates by even a few millimeters in removing bone to make way for the implant, it will not fit properly. However, when successful, a partial knee replacement offers dramatic advantages, especially to those who enjoy an active lifestyle. The healthy parts of a person’s own knee are preserved, and the knee retains a more natural feel. Typically, the patient remains fully active. Why tear down the whole house just to renovate one room?

 unheard-of mobility post-surgery

Now, thanks to the precision of robot-assisted partial knee replacement surgery, that is no longer necessary. The breakthrough technology offers suitable candidates a viable alternative to a full knee replacement, and makes possible unheard-of mobility post-surgery. This leading-edge technology can provide patients suffering from arthritic pain another 10 to 15 years of an active lifestyle. What’s more, within just a few weeks of surgery, many patients are back to skiing, swimming, golfing, even playing tennis.

How does robot-assisted partial knee replacement surgery achieve
unprecedented results?

The NAVIO technology lets the surgeon do something entirely new in a partial knee replacement operation: remove only the diseased section of bone. The remaining cavity is then fitted with a metal insert that replaces the section of removed bone.

The surgeon starts by brushing a wand containing GPS coordinates over the arthritic section of the knee, thus feeding a 3-D image into the computer system. The computer registers the alignment of the entire limb, from ankle to hip, and how the whole leg moves together. The model shows every feature of a person’s leg – it’s as unique as a fingerprint. Now the surgeon can plan how much bone to remove for the implant and actually test the plan on the computer before beginning the surgery. The computer provides answers to key questions: If I remove this much bone, will the knee fully extend?  Will the knee feel natural — not too tight or too loose?

The technology ensures the accuracy needed for truly successful partial knee replacement.

Once perfected, the plan is coded into the handheld instrument used by the surgeon to perform the operation.  To help ensure safety, the device only permits movements in accordance with the plan – any deviation from the plan and the tools freeze, preventing the removal of any excess bone. The technology ensures the accuracy needed for truly successful partial knee replacement.

Robot-assisted partial knee replacement surgery offers a great new option to many age groups. It lets active people continue to engage in more strenuous sports than they could following a full knee replacement, which limits flexion. They can do anything that involves deep knee bending — rock climb, ski, cycle, hike, play tennis. The new approach also benefits those who may have other medical issues. This is a much smaller operation than a full knee replacement, offering a quicker, easier recovery, and a far lower rate of complications. It is the ideal procedure for those with some arthritic pain and limitation, but who do not want to sacrifice ligaments or remove healthy parts of the knee. By saving as much of a person’s own bone and ligaments as possible, NAVIO surgery lets them remain active for many years.

Editor’s Note: Victor Khabie. MD, FAAOS, FACS is Chief of the Department of Surgical Services, Co-Chief of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Co-Director of the Orthopedic and Spine Institute and Director of Sports Medicine, at Northern Westchester Hospital.