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SICOT J. 2017;3:39. doi: 10.1051/sicotj/2017025. Epub 2017 Jun 2.

Learning navigation - Learning with navigation. A review.

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Centre for Orthopedic and Hand Surgery (CCOM), University Hospital of Strasbourg, 10 Avenue Baumann, 67400 Illkirch, France.
Orthopaedic Department Golden Jubilee National Hospital and Biomedical Engineering Strathclyde University, Agamemnon Street, G81 4DY Glasgow, UK.


The goal of this review paper is to retrieve from the existing literature relevant information (1) about the learning curve of the currently existing navigation systems and (2) about the use of navigation system for teaching orthopaedic procedures. All studies reporting on the learning curve of navigation systems support the hypothesis that computer-navigated total knee arthroplasty (TKA) involves only a short learning curve and that beginners can obtain good results from the beginning of their experience, as navigation provides continuous feedback during all phases of the knee replacement surgery and allows for correcting any bone cut errors. Interestingly, there is no comparable research on the learning curve of TKA with standard, manual instrumentation. One might postulate that this learning curve might be longer than with navigation, with potentially a higher rate of outliers. The current literature does support that navigation may be an efficient teaching tool for both experienced orthopaedic surgeons and trainees. Experienced surgeons may improve their skills with conventional techniques and learn new techniques more efficiently and more quickly. Trainees may have a better understanding of the procedure and learn standard techniques with a shorter learning curve. This is probably due to the immediate feedback of navigation systems. A shorter learning curve may be associated with improved clinical and functional results for the patient during this critical period. However, there is no evidence that training with navigation excludes trainees from the need to work in academic environments with experienced teachers. Future techniques in training may include the development of laboratory simulation procedures using navigated feedback.

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