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Joint replacement surgery has become one of the most common types of surgery performed at Beth Israel Deaconess - Plymouth. Advances in orthopedic implants and surgical techniques have greatly reduced recovery times for patients undergoing joint replacement. An exciting new technique known as computer-assisted minimally invasive surgery, or MIS, is being used for hip and knee replacement with considerable success.
MIS surgery uses a smaller incision than conventional surgery. In some MIS procedures, the amount of soft tissue (muscles and tendons, etc) that is disrupted during surgery may also be reduced. Even though MIS procedures have been used for many other surgical areas including cardiac, gall bladder and spinal surgery, MIS is a relatively new development for joint replacement.
Historically, total knee replacement has been highly successful in treating patients suffering from severe pain. This new surgical navigation technology enhances the physician’s ability to restore range of knee function and return patients to normal activity quicker and generally with less pain.
MIS knee surgery is conducted with the use of special computerized navigation equipment. Two small incisions with a probe are placed in the femur and the tibia, which allows the surgeon to view a geometric image on a computer screen to assist the physician in pinpointing the exact location of surgery.
Similar to a GPS (global position system) which is standard equipment in many high-end automobiles, the computer-assisted surgery provides a virtual road map of the joint and the patient’s unique anatomy. The highly sophisticated system used at Jordan and developed by Stryker Navigation (link), allows the surgeon to make adjustments to within a fraction of a degree, ensuring the best possible “fit” for the prosthesis and best joint motion.
The incision for traditional knee replacement can be as long as 10 inches, but with MIS, the incision is reduced in many cases to about 4 inches. This means fewer complications in terms of the risk of infection or other complications, and it can mean less pain during recovery and physical therapy, which begins almost immediately after this type of procedure. In fact, many Jordan patients are experiencing a 6-8 week recovery time, down from three months.