Queen's University

Queen's-KGH discovery revolutionizes hip replacements

 
2008-10-21

A revolutionary new surgical tool developed by researchers at Queen’s and Kingston General Hospital will increase the accuracy and accessibility of hip replacement operations, as well as saving time and money.

The invention, an innovative drill template, uses three-dimensional computer models from a patient’s CT scan to create a plastic drilling template that exactly fits the patient’s bone structure. These templates enable surgeons to more accurately align and place the metallic implants used in hip resurfacing and other related surgeries.

“The three-dimensional advantage of the CT scan is incorporated into the design to create a customized form that increases accuracy and efficiency in the OR,” says professor of Surgery John Rudan, an orthopedic surgeon at Kingston General Hospital. “The virtual representation in this form of computer-assist surgery allows for better reproducibility and a reduction in errors.”

Developed at the Human Mobility Research Centre, a collaborative partnership between the University and the hospital, the new device has been exclusively licensed to a U.S. orthopedics company by Queen’s technology transfer office, PARTEQ Innovations.

Dr. Rudan originally designed the drill template for a procedure known as hip resurfacing arthroplasty. This relatively new, less radical surgical technique preserves more of the bone structure than with traditional hip replacements in which the entire femur head is replaced with an artificial joint. Only the damaged cartilage on the femur head is removed and replaced with a metal cap, providing a more natural range of motion for the patient and a return to normal activity levels.

With the development of this template, orthopedic surgeons are able to quickly and accurately align the metal cap, reducing operating room time and post-operative complications. It also allows surgeons at hospitals anywhere to perform this advanced surgical procedure, without the necessity for complex and expensive computer-assisted operating room infrastructure.

The drill template has applications in other orthopedic procedures, such as knee and ankle replacements and shoulder surgeries, as well. These procedures are geared towards younger, more active patients who would otherwise outlive traditional total joint replacements and be
left with permanent, impaired mobility and decreased quality of life.

The new tool was created at the Human Mobility Research Centre by Dr. Rudan and research assistant Manuela Kunz, a mechanical and software engineer whose work combines 3-D medial imaging, computer visualization, tracking technologies, biomechanics and kinematics. “This is a completely new way of performing navigational surgery, allowing patients and surgeons access to the most advanced techniques outside of the clinical research setting,” says Dr. Kunz.

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