Knee Replacements and Computer Technology

Knee replacements have been performed for last 30-40 years all around the world. They are arguably the most successful treatment option for osteoarthritis of the knee and help cure arthritic knee pain.

Computer assisted knee replacement surgery also known as CAS knee replacement is an advanced surgical technique for traditional knee replacement surgery.

Another example of surgical advancement is MIS knee replacement(Minimally invasive surgery). Please watch video 3 which shows CAS and MIS surgery.

Some people also call it computer assisted robotic knee joint replacement.

As there are advancements in surgical techniques, the use of computers and information technology in surgical processes is also undergoing great changes and one of those many changes is introduction of Computer assisted surgery.

What is computer assisted surgery?

knee replacement

Does it mean computers are doing knee replacements that were once done by knee replacement surgeon?

Do you think that now the doctors are replaced by computerized robots who cut open your knee joint and do whole knee surgery that was once done by your orthopedic surgeon?


None of these assumptions are true and just to settle the dust let me tell you that the technology is evolving; the healthcare technology is no exception.

If you want to take a basic overview of traditional knee arthroplasty please click here.

In Knee joint surgery your arthritic bone ends are replaced by prosthetic implants and then cemented with the knee bones by bone cements.

The whole procedure takes around 1-2 hour depending on surgical expertise and competency of the doctor.

Some doctors advocate use of computers and information technology in the healthcare field where as some others still believe in old school human surgical skills rather than relying on computers.

Which one is right? Which one do you prefer? Computer assisted knee replacements or traditional knee replacement surgery!

Doctors advocating CAS prefer it because they feel the surgical precision and implant fixation is better with this kind of surgical approach.

Computer assisted surgery overview

As I said earlier too computerized knee replacements are improved more sophisticated version of traditional knee surgery.

Let me describe main key differences here which are as follows:

  • Before surgery begins doctor attaches probes to human knee joint which helps in more accurate positioning of knee prosthetic implants. ( Implant fixation and proper alignment are most important phases of a knee surgery. And improper alignment is one of the main reason for knee replacement failure.)
  • The infrared camera on computer detects those probes attached on the skin.
  • The computer determines the position of knee joint and draws a computerized knee joint with the help of those sensors on the skin.
  • This computerized knee diagram helps knee replacement surgeon in implanting the implants with more precision.
  • Doctor then completes the surgical process.
  • Doctor uses his expertise and other traditional methods to make sure that alignment of implant is correct. Still to make sure that everything is correct atlast they use computers.

In most of knee replacement failure cases, misalignment of prosthesis is the reason for complication and related problems. In such cases revision surgery is the option for both patient and doctor.

Does it mean Computer assisted knee replacements are better than traditional knee replacement surgery?

I would say no. Still this technique has been new and evolving. So the claims of being the more result oriented has to be backed by research.

However I would say that the help of computer reduces the likelihood of knee alignment problems to certain extent.

Some of the doctors might not like it but it is a selling point for those who perform and market computer assisted knee replacements.

By no means it decreases the effectiveness of traditional knee surgery.

Go back to MIS surgery from here.

Go back to home page from Knee replacements.

Please if you have a real life experience or you liked what I have shared with you here please comment in comment section so that other people who read this can get benefited.

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