Health Headlines: Software helps surgeons perform more precise knee replacements

Start your day with 7 News Sunrise
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 3:53 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Knees are one of the most abused, broken and damaged joints in the body, and a new technique is helping surgeons replace them better than ever before.

Each year, more than 800,000 people undergo knee replacement surgery in the U.S.

Today, 90 percent of all knee replacements last 10 years, and 80 percent last 20 years.

Robotic surgery has become standard procedure. Now, a new technique is giving surgeons a way to be even more precise.

Orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey DeClaire, M.D. was one of the first to perform a total knee replacement, and now he is one of the first to use a navigation software that not only makes sure the new knee is in the exact right spot, but the ligaments are as well.

“The BalanceBot is a method to measure ligament tension throughout the full range of motion on the inner half of the knee and the outer half of the knee,” Declaire said.

Traditionally, surgeons used their own experience and standard guidelines to position the ligaments around the implant.

“It didn’t include the tension or the balance of ligaments,” DeClaire said.

BalanceBot is taking out the guesswork. The system creates a 3D model in real time of the patient’s movements.

After surgeons open the knee, two paddles on the BalanceBot are inserted, recording range of motion.

The software then proposes an initial implant plan based on the anatomy of each individual patient. The software can predict how much of the ligament should be saved to optimize balance and joint stability.

“Literally being able to balance the ligaments within a half a millimeter and to achieve rotational position within a half a degree,” DeClaire said.

It gives patients and their knees a better chance at getting back to 100 percent.

Clinical trials on more than 1,200 patients show a satisfaction of almost 98 percent, compared to 75 to 80 percent with a traditional knee replacement.