Image-Guided Navigation System Points the Way to Hi-Tech Surgery Success

January 20, 2008

Advanced computer navigation technology is helping surgeons perform successful joint replacement and other procedures with greater accuracy and success.

Joint replacement surgery has quickly become one of the most popular and successful treatment options for patients with serious joint and bone conditions. A successful joint replacement operation depends on several factors, most notably the precise and accurate alignment of the joint component. Accurate alignment during surgery is critical to a patient’s future mobility, and it helps maximize the longevity of the prosthetic components. A new generation of image-guided navigation systems like the one in use at Bumrungrad is giving surgeons a powerful tool to perform many successful procedures including joint replacement.


Image-guide navigation systems for surgery operate in a similar way to the latest navigation systems for cars and ships that help pinpoint the driver or captain’s precise location and guide them on their journey. The system provides surgeons with clear and detailed images and positioning calculations, in ‘real-time’ on a computer screen, giving the surgeon a clear view of the area where the operation is being performed.

Computer navigation gives the surgeon visual information on the precise positioning during a surgical procedure, including joint replacement surgery which is performed using smaller incisions. As a result, the minimally-invasive procedure can be highly reliable and accurate.

During a joint replacement procedure, the surgeon first places temporary markers on and around the joint bones at the positions that have been located using the system’s infrared camera. Next, the system tracks the position of each marker while the surgeon guides the joint through a variety of motions. The computer processes the data and generates a highly detailed three-dimensional image of the joint.


This new technology is a perfect complement to minimally- invasive surgical procedures, allowing patients an easier and faster recovery. Traditional surgery usually involves large incisions that cut through muscle tissue and cause a lot of bleeding during surgery. On the other hand, minimally-invasive surgery uses small punctures in the skin to perform the procedure. Less trauma to the surrounding tissue means less post-operative pain, quicker restoration of mobility, and shorter hospital stays. Patients can now look forward to a much faster return to their normal lifestyle.
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