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Injury. 2004 Jun;35 Suppl 1:S-A17-23.

Potential pitfalls of computer aided orthopedic surgery.

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Maurice E. Müller Research Center for Orthopedic Surgery, Institute for Surgical Technology and Biomechanics, University of Bern, 3001 Bern, Switzerland.


Computer aided orthopedic surgery (CAOS) systems are becoming more and more frequently used in operating rooms all over the world. While their clinical benefit is no longer doubted, there is considerable potential for using these devices incorrectly At best, mishandling of a CAOS system may lead to prolonged operating times. In the worst case scenario, incorrect navigational feedback is provided, which carries the potential risk of endangering the patient or resulting in an unacceptable surgical outcome. From an economical point of view only the optimal performance of a navigation system will probably justify its significant investment costs. This article summarizes some of the major pitfalls that may occur during surgical navigation. It is structured to reflect different types of CAOS systems, and it presents guidelines on how to avoid most of the problems. In general, a surgeon who wants to apply this technology needs to be very familiar with the system that is used. It is essential to know the basics and the limitations of the underlying technical principles. Otherwise, the large potential that modern CAOS systems make available cannot be exploited effectively for the benefit of the patient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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