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J Orthop Sci. 2003;8(3):442-8.

Computer-assisted orthopedic surgery.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Osaka Graduate School of Medicine, 2-2 Yamadaoka, Suita 565-0871, Japan.


Computer-assisted surgery (CAS) utilizing robotic or image-guided technologies has been introduced into various orthopedic fields. Navigation and robotic systems are the most advanced parts of CAS, and their range of functions and applications is increasing. Surgical navigation is a visualization system that gives positional information about surgical tools or implants relative to a target organ (bone) on a computer display. There are three types of surgical planning that involve navigation systems. One makes use of volumetric images, such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, or ultrasound echograms. Another makes use of intraoperative fluoroscopic images. The last type makes use of kinetic information about joints or morphometric information about the target bones obtained intraoperatively. Systems that involve these planning methods are called volumetric image-based navigation, fluoroscopic navigation, and imageless navigation, respectively. To overcome the inaccuracy of hand-controlled positioning of surgical tools, three robotic systems have been developed. One type directs a cutting guide block or a drilling guide sleeve, with surgeons sliding a bone saw or a drill bit through the guide instrument to execute a surgical action. Another type constrains the range of movement of a surgical tool held by a robot arm such as ACROBOT. The last type is an active system, such as ROBODOC or CASPAR, which directs a milling device automatically according to preoperative planning. These CAS systems, their potential, and their limitations are reviewed here. Future technologies and future directions of CAS that will help provide improved patient outcomes in a cost-effective manner are also discussed.

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