Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®: November 2008 - Volume 466 - Issue 11 - p 2756-2762 doi: 10.1007/s11999-008-0429-7

Computer Navigation-assisted versus Minimally Invasive TKA Benefits and Drawbacks

Bonutti, Peter M., MD1; Dethmers, Daniel, MD1; Ulrich, Slif D., MD2; Seyler, Thorsten M., MD2; Mont, Michael A., MD2,a

Computer-navigated and minimally invasive TKAs are emerging technologies that have distinct strengths and weaknesses. We compared duration of surgery, length of hospitalization, Knee Society scores, radiographic alignments, and complications in two unselected groups of 81 consecutive knees that underwent TKA using either a minimally invasive approach or computer navigation. The two groups were operated on by two different surgeons over differing timeframes. The mean surgical time was longer in the navigated group by 63 minutes. The Knee Society scores and lengths of hospitalization of the two groups were similar. The postoperative component alignments of the two groups were similar; the mean femoral valgus and tibial varus angles of the navigation group changed from 96° and 88° preoperatively to 95° and 89° postoperatively, respectively, and in the minimally invasive group, the mean femoral valgus angles and tibial varus angles changed from 97° and 88° preoperatively to 95° and 89° postoperatively, respectively. There were 11 major and three minor complications in the navigation group, including one revision, two femoral shaft fractures, four reoperations for knee stiffness, and four instances of bleeding from tracker sites. We believe the higher incidence of complications in addition to the longer operative time in the navigated group may outweigh any potential radiographic benefits.


Level of Evidence: Level II, therapeutic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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