In the quest for increased surgical precision and improved joint kinematics, Computer-Assisted Orthopedic Surgery (CAOS) shows promising results for both total and partial joint replacement. In the knee, computer-assisted joint design can now be applied to the treatment of younger patients suffering pain and restriction of activity due to focal defects in their femoral articular cartilage. By taking MRI scans of the affected knee and digitally segmenting these scans, we can identify and map focal defects in cartilage and bone. Metallic implants matched to the defect can be fabricated, and guide instrumentation to ensure proper implant alignment and depth of recession in the surrounding cartilage can be designed from segmented MRI scans. Beginning in 2012, a series of 682 patient-specific implants were designed based on MRI analysis of femoral cartilage focal defects, and implanted in 612 knees. A Kaplan-Meier analysis found a cumulative survivorship of 96% at 7-year follow-up from the first implantation. Fourteen (2.3%) of these implants required revision due to disease progression, incorrect implant positioning, and inadequate lesion coverage at the time of surgery. These survivorship data compare favorably with all other modes of treatment for femoral focal cartilage lesions and support the use of patient-specific implants designed from segmented MRI scans in these cases.
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