computer navigation for hips


The techniques for manufacturing implants have advanced significantly over the years. We are now at a point where the implants are reliable and it is difficult to make design changes that will have a significant impact to change the period of time an implant will last for (survivorship).

We do know that poorly positioned implants can fail early or cause complications (hip dislocation, impingement, pain).  Computer Aided Navigation is a valuable tool that can be used to increase the accuracy of implant positioning which may increase survivorship.

There are different types of systems that can be used for Computer Aided Navigation.

-Image Based

        Computed Tomography (CT)

        Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

        Fluoroscopic (X-Ray)

-Non image based

        Surgeon defined anatomy

Mr Higgins has considerable experience with Computer Aided Navigation for hip resurfacing. This is non-image based and involves mapping out the patient’s hip using special probes which pass information via infra-red waves to the computer. The computer then produces a precise model of the patient’s hip. This allows accurate positioning of the implant. It involves no radiation exposure and is performed during the operation.

Total Hip Replacement usually requires image based navigation. The patient has a CT or MRI scan performed before the operation and from this a computer generated model is produced. The surgeon can then decide the optimal position for the implants. In complex cases custom made prostheses can be produced to fit an individual patient. These processes usually involve radiation exposure and are expensive procedures, however if the implant survivorship is increased they may be worth the extra expense.


hip resurfacing/ replacement

The main photograph demonstrates the special Infra-Red probes being used during a hip resurfacing operation.

The graph (top right)demonstrates variation in position after routine surgery.

Bottom right image: This shows one of the screen shots used by the surgeon.