Minimally invasive total knee replacement with computer-assisted surgical technique now performed at Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Minneapolis 27 September 2004Doctors with Abbott Northwestern Hospital's Orthopaedic Institute have a new and valuable tool for performing knee replacement surgeries. VectorVision, a "global-positioning system for the body", allows surgeons to use pre-operative diagnostic images to visualize and track the position of their choice of surgical instruments intraoperatively through a touch-screen interface.


The VectorVision system empowers surgeons to select the optimal implant during total joint replacement surgery by using a patient's 3D image data. The system ensures that the ligaments have the appropriate tension after the operation, allowing the patient's leg to move smoothly after knee replacement. "This technology is the biggest advancement in total knee replacement in several years", stated James R. Larson, MD.

For the increasing number of people needing joint replacement surgery, the device offers patients hope of less pain and a shortened recovery time after surgery. "Image-guided knee replacement is a natural transition from minimally-invasive procedures", stated Tilok Ghose, MD. "The system provides improved accuracy, which is especially important since the average age of patients requiring knee replacements is getting younger."

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 379.000 total knee replacement surgeries were performed in the United States in 2001. The number of total joint replacements is expected to rise each year as baby boomers age and expect to typically remain active later in life.

Abbott Northwestern's Orthopaedic Institute provides an integrated, quality care approach to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of orthopaedic conditions. The Institute offers patients specialized surgeons, nurses and staff and rehabilitation services in partnership with Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. Minneapolis-based Abbott Northwestern Hospital is part of Allina Hospitals & Clinics, a non-profit network of hospitals, clinics and other health care services.

The VectorVision system was developed by BrainLAB. More news about VectorVision can be found in this VMW issue's article Improved treatment of bone fractures with BrainLAB's image-guided VectorVision trauma.

Leslie Versweyveld

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