Joint replacement surgery has evolved over the last 30 years to become one of the most common and predictable procedures in an Orthopaedic surgeons repertoire. Nonetheless, problems with malalignment, loosening, longevity and survivability still arise. Implant survival is multifactorial but proper alignment and orientation of the prosthetic components is an important issue. This is even more important when there is severe deformity or bone loss. The use of computer aided surgery enables surgeons to plan their surgery and optimise placement of implants.
Computer aided or computer “navigated” surgery has become very popular in recent years. It utilizes a tracking system and preprogrammed software to provide a “map” of the operative field. Greater precision is possible compared to conventional surgery and accuracy is improved to 1 mm or 1 degree with current navigation systems. This is especially useful when operating on organs which are difficult to access or where there is a risk of injury to important structures.
In the last few years Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) in Orthopaedics has taken off tremendously. While many joint operations are now performed arthroscopically, some operations such as joint replacement still require an open incision. By using MIS techniques, our surgeons are able to give patients smaller, more cosmetic incisions that allow faster recovery and rehabilitation after surgery. Navigation surgery helps the surgeon to “see” even when using very small incisions. The combination of Computer-aided Navigation with Minimally Invasive Surgical techniques promises to open up a whole new way of thinking about the definitions of “major” joint replacement surgery.
Dr Ang is actively involved in performing computer guided joint replacement surgery.
Pictured to the right is a patient of Dr KC Ang one day after undergoing computer navigated MIS total knee replacement. The surgery was done in NUH.
What happens after surgery?
Your surgeon will encourage you to use your “new” joint shortly after your operation. After knee replacement you will often stand and begin walking the day after surgery. Initially, you will use a frame for assistance but quickly progress to using a cane or walking stick.
Some patients have some temporary pain in the replaced joint because the surrounding muscles are weak from inactivity and the tissues are healing, but it will end in a few weeks or months.
Exercise is an important part of the recovery process. Your orthopaedic surgeon or the staff will discuss an exercise program for you after surgery.
After your surgery, you may be permitted to play golf, walk and dance. However, more strenuous sports, such as tennis or running, may be discouraged.
The motion of your joint will generally improve after surgery. The extent of improvement will depend on how stiff your joint was before the surgery