Sparrow offers computer-navigated joint replacement surgery

Published: Nov. 1, 2011

LANSING, Mich. - Sparrow is the only hospital in mid-Michigan that offers computer-navigated joint replacement surgery at a time when baby boomers are fueling the skyrocketing need for hip and knee replacements.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, knee and hip replacement surgeries have doubled over the last decade and more than tripled in the 45- to 64-year-old age group. It is projected there will be three million knee replacements performed annually by 2025. The popularity of total joint replacement surgery has grown because it allows patients to lose the pain caused by weak and arthritic joints and better enjoy daily activities.

At Sparrow, orthopedic surgeons have access to the Stryker computer-assisted knee replacement system, a unique technology that works similar to a GPS system inside a car. The system uses computer technology to determine the correct alignment of the joint, which allows the surgeon to make the most precise placement.

"You have a higher rate of failure if the knee replacement is not put in straight," said Orthopedic Surgeon Jason Cochran, DO. "It is less invasive to the bone, so there is less trauma and, possibly, less blood loss, less pain and more precise cuts so the new joint may last longer."

Computer-aided joint replacement is particularly helpful for patients with complex knee problems, and those who have prior hardware or deformity in their knees. It can also help decrease hospital stay after surgery.

"The nice thing about having new technology is it just gives us one more extra tool to use," Cochran said. "There are plenty of surgeons that use traditional (methods) that have very good outcomes."

Patients who opt for knee replacement at Sparrow also get access to the region's only "Total Joint Camp," a program that delivers faster recovery by ensuring patients are more informed and better prepared before, during and after surgery. The program allows fellow patients to develop camaraderie that encourages engagement and adherence to proven techniques for optimal recovery.