Dr. Su is one of a handful of surgeons who uses computer navigation for all of his knee replacement operations. Computer navigation is an enabling technology that provides real-time, intraoperative information to a surgeon, in order to perform the operation with greater precision.
During a knee replacement, a surgeon must cut the bone of your femur and tibia at precise angles in order to create a well-aligned joint afterwards. Surgeons believe that the better a total knee replacement is aligned, the longer it may last and the better it may function. Unfortunately, the current tools that are used by most surgeons to perform a knee replacement are rather rudimentary and often lead to "outliers". In fact, many studies have shown that even experienced surgeons will have up to a 30-40% rate of outliers, where the total knee replacement is greater than 3o from where it was intended.
Computer navigation, because it is able to provide information to the surgeon during the operation about how instruments are aligned, is able to reduce the rate of outliers dramatically. In a study that Dr. Su was involved with, when computer navigation was used, 96% of total knee replacements were within +/- 2o of the intended target. Thus, the number of outliers were cut down by a factor of 7!
Researchers in Australia have now demonstrated that a TKR that was performed with computer navigation has a better chance of survival (free from another operation) at 10 years, as compared to total knee replacements performed without computer navigation.
Dr. Su continues to work closely with Orthalign, Inc, the company that manufactures the KneeAlign computer navigation system, in order to refine and improve this technology.