Robot-Assisted Orthopedic Surgery
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The main advantages of robot-assisted orthopedic surgery over conventional orthopedic techniques are improved accuracy and precision in the preparation of bone surfaces, more reliable and reproducible outcomes, and greater spatial accuracy. Orthopedic surgery is ideally suited for the application of robotic systems. The ability to isolate and rigidly fix bones in known positions allows robotic devices to be securely fixed to the bone. As such, the bone is treated as a fixed object, simplifying the computer control of the robotic system. Commercially available robotic systems can be categorized as either passive or active devices, or can be categorized as positioning or milling/cutting devices. Computer assisted orthopedic surgery is a related area of technological development in orthopedics; however, robot-assisted orthopedic surgery can achieve levels of accuracy, precision, and safety not capable with computer assisted orthopedic surgery. Applications of robot-assisted orthopedic surgery currently under investigation include total hip and knee replacement, tunnel placement for reconstruction of knee ligaments, and trauma and spinal procedures. Several short-term studies demonstrate the feasibility of robotic applications in orthopedics, however, there are no published long-term data defining the efficacy of robot-assisted orthopedic surgery. Issues of cost, training, and safety must be addressed before robot-assisted orthopedic surgery becomes widely available. Robot-assisted orthopedic surgery is still very much in its infancy but it has the potential to transform the way orthopedic procedures are done in the future.
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