Your Health: A new knee replacement procedure

Giving patients and their knees a better chance at getting back to 100%.
Each year, over 800,000 people undergo knee replacement surgery in the US. Now, a new technique is giving surgeons a way to be even more precise.
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 9:24 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - From the everyday wear and tear from running or jogging, to the extreme, like skiing, the knee is the most injured joint in the body. But no two knees are alike.

Orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey DeClaire was one of the first to perform a total knee replacement. 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.”

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,” said Dr. DeClaire.

Now, BalanceBot is taking out the guesswork. The system creates a 3D model in real-time of the patient’s movement. After surgeons open the knee, two paddles on the BalanceBot are inserted, recording the 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 half a millimeter and to achieve a rotational position within half a degree,” says Dr. DeClaire.

It’s giving patients and their knees a better chance at getting back to 100%.

Clinical trials involving more than 1,200 patients show a satisfaction rate of almost 98%, compared to the 75-80% with a traditional knee replacement. With this method, ligament releases have been drastically reduced, which means less trauma to the tissue, quicker recovery, and better outcomes.

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