An Illinois orthopedic surgeon has started using iPod-based technology to improve the accuracy of knee replacement surgeries, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Departure From Traditional Surgeries
Traditional knee-replacement surgeries involve running a metal rod through the patient's tibia to align and secure an artificial knee.
George Branovacki -- an orthopedic surgeon at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. -- said he "takes the rod out of the equation" by using his iPod's Dash navigational software to more precisely measure and place artificial knees. Although the iPod-based technology received FDA approval in 2011, its manufacturer says Christ Medical Center currently is the only U.S. hospital to use it.
How It Works
During an operation, the iPod is placed in a frame with a pistol-like handle. It takes measurements on the patient and wirelessly relays the data to an infrared camera a few feet away.
The camera is connected to a computer that calculates where the surgeon should make an incision, and then the computer relays that information to the iPod's screen to show Branovacki whether he is on target.
According to Branovacki, the device's "GPS-like navigation" helps prevent small misalignments, which can have a large effect on a patient's mobility and pain, as well as on the life of the implant. Those misalignments are significantly more likely when a physician must move his or her focus back and forth between the patient and a computer, he said (Nolan, Chicago Sun-Times, 9/10).