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Computer Modeling could improve Knee Implants

A Texas A&M University doctoral student has collaborated with an innovative surgical navigation and robotics company on motion capture research that could potentially improve implant positioning during knee replacement surgeries.

Over one million knee replacement surgeries were performed in the U.S. in 2020. 20% of patients were dissatisfied with outcomes, primarily due to implant alignment issues. Aaron Henry’s research focused on validating a Caira computerized knee model that allows for more accurate implant positioning.

Traditionally, surgeons have tried to estimate the correct implant position based on experience and diagnosis. Using computer models, physicians can now more accurately verify the alignment of an implant and assess potential misalignments before final placement. These models also allow simulations of specific knee movements after surgery and can predict significant mobility changes.

Henry validated the model by comparing motion recordings of a physical 3D-printed knee model to the computational model, which showed that the computational model could predict real-world conditions well.

The research was presented at the Design of Medical Devices conference and published in the ASME Digital Collection.

Dr. Andrew Robbins, research assistant professor in the School of Engineering Medicine and the Department of Multidisciplinary Engineering at Texas A&M, is one of Henry’s advisors.

“This work with our partners at Caira provides an opportunity to impact a huge number of Americans who need joint replacements,” he said. “Aaron’s work is laying important groundwork for significant improvements to clinical practice in the near future.”

In addition to Robbins, two members of Caira Surgical worked with Henry on the paper: Gordon Goodchild, vice president of research and development, and Jon Greenwald, co-founder and CEO. Other contributors include Dr. Morteza Meftah, an orthopedic surgeon at New York University Langone Health, and Dr. Michael Moreno, Henry’s second advisor and associate professor in the J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M.

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