A surgeon at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery recently performed the first knee replacement surgery in the United States using augmented reality.

Jonathan Wigdorczyk, M.D.

replaced the knees of two patients with severe arthritis in their knee joints last month. He used special glasses that allowed him to see critical surgical data during surgery.

Dr. Vigdorchik.

I saw the two patients in the 50 this week and thought they did well.

Augmented reality is overlaid on top of digital content, such as. B. 3D images or visual instructions, via mobile devices and wearable headsets, to allow the user to see the real world. Companies have been working with early versions of this technology for years in construction, education and other areas. More and more doctors are expanding the use of ART for procedures that require extreme precision.

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In knee surgery, the technology allows the surgeon to see and follow the surgical plans projected on the lens of the smart glasses, allowing for more precise removal of bone and cartilage and more accurate positioning of the knee implant.

At many points during the surgery, he gives me information and makes sure my cuts are accurate, grade by grade, millimeter by millimeter, Dr. Wigdorczyk said.

The better the knee replacement fits, Dr. Wigdorczyk said, the better the chances for long-term success of the surgery.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, approximately 800,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed in the United States each year. The United States accounts for approximately 50% of the global market for knee replacements.

Francesco Ciccardi,

Director of the Swiss subsidiary of the company

Medacta International SA,

which develops, produces and supplies orthopaedic products.

Dr. Wigdorczyk used the Medacta NextAR augmented reality platform for his latest surgeries. In July 2020, NextAR received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a total knee replacement. The platform was first deployed in Australia last September.

In the weeks leading up to the procedures, Dr. Wigdorczyk performed scans of the patients’ knee joints and uploaded them to the cloud-based Medacta NextAR platform, which created three-dimensional models of the knee joints. Three-dimensional models are used for preoperative planning, for example B. to determine the amount of damaged bone and cartilage to be removed and to determine the optimal implant placement based on each patient’s anatomy.

At the beginning of each procedure, Dr. Wigdorczyk puts on augmented reality glasses. Lens for the manufacture of transparent spectacles

Vuzix Corp.

The system has a digital display that shows the patient’s knee and the surgical planning parameters that allow for precise positioning of the implants.

The display in the glasses can show a 3D model of the trunk with a representation of the planned cuts. The display is interactive. If the surgeon makes the incisions exactly as planned, a green line appears as the instruments move. When lockout/tagout is disabled, the line turns red.

The key to a successful knee replacement is to ensure that the ligaments holding the knee in place maintain their pre-operative balance or stability. For Dr. Wigdorczyk’s surgeries, two quarter-sized sensors attached with clips – one above and one below the knee joint – were used to send the signal to the AR glasses with an accurate 3D measurement of spatial position. This data was used to calculate ligament balance as Dr. Wigdorczyk guided patients’ legs through a series of movements during surgery.

Dr. Wigdorczyk said he believes augmented reality allows for better procedures that lead to faster healing and better functioning knee implants.

Tuong Huy Nguyen,

Senior Analyst in a research and consulting firm.


stated that the market for augmented reality technology will grow as the technology finds new applications.

AR is the next generation in computing, he said. This is how we will deal with the world.

Email John McCormick at [email protected]

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