A personalized approach to knee replacements
A “smart sensor” is helping orthopedic surgeons customize knee implants according to each patient’s specific anatomy.
At Oak Lawn, Ill.-based Advocate Christ Medical Center, orthopedic surgeons are using a high-tech instrument system known as the VERASENSE™ Total Knee System. The results thus far have included better overall patient outcomes after total knee replacement surgery, and less cost in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
“Part of the art of knee replacement is to put in the implant with the proper balancing,” says Dr. George Branovacki, orthopedic surgeon at Christ Medical Center. “You want to have the extension with the knee straight, and the flexion with the knee bent at the proper position and the proper tension.”
The sensor is temporarily inserted between the components of a knee implant during surgery. It allows the surgeon to capture data about the knee in order to customize implant positioning. Once the implant position is stabilized, the sensor is removed and replaced with a permanent implant.
“In traditional knee-replacement surgery, it’s a matter of feel for the surgeons,” Dr. Branovacki says. “Does the implant make the joint feel too tight? Does it feel too loose? Every surgeon has different preferences as to how to put in the implant. However, sometimes patients end up with knee stiffness even though the surgeon thought the implant was properly inserted. Sometimes the knee replacement is too loose and wobbly.”
With VERASENSE, orthopedic surgeons now have data to optimize a patient’s soft-tissue balance and knee kinetics. Otherwise, surgeons rely on their best judgment, thereby increasing the risk after surgery of an imbalanced, unstable knee that may increase a patient’s pain, result in patient dissatisfaction or lead to early implant failure.
Knee instability is also a leading cause of patient dissatisfaction after total knee replacement surgery, Dr. Branovacki says.
Clinical results of a recent multicenter evaluation of the VERASENSE system indicate that 98 percent of patients whose knees were balanced using the new technology were “satisfied” to “very satisfied” after one year and again after two years following total knee replacement.
This satisfaction rate represents a significant increase in the average 81-percent satisfaction reported by peer-reviewed, professional publications among patients who have undergone a more traditional knee replacement procedure.
Christ Medical Center and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., are among only a few hospitals in the state currently using the device.
Learn more about VERASENSE in this video.
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