Saint Anthony makes advances in total knee replacement

July 1, 1993

ROCKFORD—OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center is offering an innovative, leading edge technology that can improve the results of total knee replacement surgery.

Andreas J. Fischer, M.D., active staff member at OSF Saint Anthony, performed the first total knee replacement surgery in Rockford using a new knee navigation system on July 11. Dr. Fischer is a member of the Orthopedic and Arthritis Clinic of Rockford.

“I found the computer navigation technology to be user friendly and a definite adjunct to making accurate bone cuts necessary for successful knee replacement surgery,” said Dr. Fischer.

The navigation system provides surgeons a digital view of the internal components of the knee prior to and during total knee replacement surgery. These real time pre- and intra-operative images allow surgeons to improve the placement of instruments, location and depth of bone cuts and implant components.

To obtain the best possible outcomes, accuracy to within 1 to 2 degrees and 1 to 2 millimeters is extremely important. The knee navigation system assures surgeons achieve this type of precision with a consistency previously difficult to attain.

It does so using minimally invasive wireless “pointers” and “trackers” that incorporate infrared emitters, which the surgeon uses to send knee movement data to the knee navigation system computer. These data points are converted to graphics and are visible on a computer monitor in the operating room. The graphics provide an accurate survey of important anatomical points, as well as areas of bone and soft tissue deficiency. This information helps surgeons judge how to proceed with the knee replacement surgery.

As surgeons prepare to remove bone for placement of the knee implant, the knee navigation system also provides data regarding placement of the cutting jig, which enables doctors to make adjustments before making the first cut. It also provides postoperative data.

Potential gains from using this system include faster rehabilitation, improved final range of motion, more complete extension and longer lasting knee replacements.

About 270,000 total knee replacement surgeries are performed each year in the United States. Knee replacements are usually recommended for people who experience severe knee pain and disability caused by damage to cartilage from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or trauma. More than 90 percent of people who undergo total knee replacement experience a dramatic reduction of knee pain and a significant improvement in the ability to perform common activities of daily living.

OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, a Level I Trauma Center, is owned and operated by OSF HealthCare, an affiliate corporation of The Sisters of the Third Order, St. Francis, Peoria. In a recent survey conducted by National Research Corporation, people in Winnebago, Boone and Ogle counties chose OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center as their first choice for providing quality care.

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