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iPod assists knee surgery

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 14, 2011
First Published: 01:58 IST(14/4/2011) | Last Updated: 01:58 IST(14/4/2011)

When orthopaedic surgeon Dr Arun Mullaji performed a scheduled joint knee replacement surgery on Wednesday morning, he had an iPod carefully tucked in his surgeon’s coat.


The doctor wasn’t listening to music, but used the hand-held device to assist him in the surgery.

“Computer-assisted surgeries are being conducted for some years now.  However, the systems involved are cumbersome to use for surgeons,” said Dr Mullaji, who is attached to the Breach Candy Hospital at Bhulabhai Desai Road. “And computer-assisted surgeries have the accuracy rate of 90-95 per cent. But this technique takes the accuracy and precision to another level altogether.”

The iPod, said Dr Mullaji, is easier to use and gives the same kind of accuracy and precision as a computer device. Mullaji performed the knee replacement surgery on Gulab Sanghvi, 75, with the help of DASH Smart Instrument System.

The iPod, which is with the doctor, is connected wirelessly (by wi-fi) to a camera. The DASH smart instrument system prompts the doctor through the iPod screen on where and how deep to make a precision cut during the surgery and where to place the new joint. “The surgeon can determine the exact alignment of the leg and the new joint on the screen of the iPod,” said Dr Mullaji. “Studies have shown that when computer technology is used for joint replacement, the patient experiences less pain and loses less blood.”

“I don’t think that this technique will increase the accuracy of the computer-assisted techniques, which are already being used for joint replacements,” said Dr Kaushal Malhan, knee and hip surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.

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