New knee -- with help from the iPod
Indian surgeons use iPod to assist in knee replacement

Doctors at the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai have used the iPod as a portable navigation tool to assist in a kneee surgery. A team led by joint replacement surgeon Dr Arun Mullaji, performed a kneee joint replacement on April 12, on 75-year-old Gulab Sanghvi, using the “DASH” smart instrument system sourced from US based Smith and Nephew, which creativiley harness the touch scrfeen interfaqce of the iconic Apple player, the iPod, to to judge the correct height at which the bone could be cut and replaced with a new prosthetic joint.

The hardware consists of a special casing for the iPod as well as a computer system that communicates wirelessly with the device. The system includes a camera with an infrared sensor. The casing has slots for miniature instruments and three antennae with reflecting spheres. These spheres provide a frame of reference to the camera's infrared sensor, which tracks each of them to plot the x, y and z axis of each point. Dr Mullaji placed the iPod touch with the special software and linked with tiny instruments, on Ms Sanghvi’s knee.

Dr  Mullaji,told The Economic Times: "Though the computer navigation itself was a breakthrough, the iPod navigation allows for better accuracy….The iPod screen shows accurate measurements, angles, positions and the movement that will be possible for each point touched by the sensor pointer connected to it. And since the iPod is carried by us in hand, the screen is at the same area where the surgery is being done as against the screen at a distance in a computer navigation system."

Note about the system from the makers: The Smith & Nephew Dash™ Smart Instrument system*, powered by Brainlab, is a portable surgical navigation system designed to assist orthopedic surgeons in performing knee and hip joint replacement procedures with greater accuracy. Central to Dash™ is the easy-to-use handheld device with touchscreen interface (iPod touch) that works remotely with the mobile platform and infrared camera to provide surgeons with accurate and intuitive guidance through each procedure. This, combined with the ability to make interactive fine-tune adjustments to the surgical instruments, provides the surgeon with a high-precision and portable tool for the accurate placement of artificial knee and hip implants.

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April 12 2011