Image-guided surgery for hip and knee joint replacement seemed to have got less complicated for surgeons with the advent of cutting edge technology. After Apollo Hospitals in Chennai demonstrated the use of iPod for hip resurfacing last month, Coimbatore-based Ganga Hospital recently did a revision hip joint replacement and total knee replacement surgeries using this approach.

“The iPod has brought images closer to surgeon. Under the earlier computer navigated system, the monitor had to be placed outside the surgical zone. Someone had to step out to check whether the images indicated a margin of error during surgery,” Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics and Spine Surgery of the hospital S. Rajasekaran told presspersons on Friday.

The surgeon demonstrated the functioning of the iPod.

“Software with all the necessary details of joint replacement surgery is loaded in the iPod so that it can navigate the entire procedure,” the surgeon said.

The iPod-assisted surgery would increase the longevity of the knee or hip joint implant as the exact position would be determined. “This way, the life of an implant will increase from the current 10 or 12 years to 20 years,” he said.

“It also helps determine the exact amount of bone to be cut to fix the implant. In co-ordination with orthopaedic implant group Smith and Nephew, we performed a total knee replacement surgery on a 59-year-old woman and a revision total hip replacement surgery on a 53-year-old woman using the iPod for navigation,” Dr. Rajasekaran said.

Traditional navigation equipment were three times costlier than the iPod-assisted one.

Dr. Rajasekaran said hip and knee joint replacement surgeries improved the quality of life of those affected severely by arthritis. Joint replacement procedures helped them regain mobility, though margin or errors led to wear and tear of the implants over a period of time. The new technique would eliminate this problem.

On the medico-legal front, the new technology helped in storing the images of the surgery stage-by-stage.

“Finally, this technology puts the surgeon under stress; there is the pressure to be perfect. The iPod is the judge at the theatre,” Dr. Rajasekaran said.