South Mumbai resident Neena Agarwal, 61, who was suffering from severe osteoarthritis, underwent a joint replacement surgery on both her knees last week.
The surgery was one among several knee replacement surgeries conducted everyday except that the doctors who performed on Agarwal had practiced the entire procedure a week earlier on the computer.
Agarwal was one of the first patients to be operated at Fortis Hospital in Mulund, with the help of patient specific instrumentation (PSI) knee replacement surgery that allows the doctor to plan and execute the surgery before performing the actual operation. The technology was introduced only this month at the hospital.
"This is a new technology, whereby before performing the bilateral knee replacement surgery, we operated on the patient virtually with the help of a software using 3D images of the patient's knee. This reduced the risk of error in decision-making at the time of operation," said Dr Kaushal Malhan, knee and joint replacement surgeon who operated on Agarwal.
Before surgery, doctors took a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan for a precise 3D measurement of Agarwal's knee. With the help of this technology, a replica of the patient's bones was made available as a 3D model on the computer. The surgical cuts and placement of implants were done virtually on the computer using specialised software.
"At the time of the actual operation, one had to simply execute the plan using instruments designed exclusively for the patient," said Dr Malhan.
In conventional knee replacement methods, all the planning is undertaken at the time of surgery. This increases the time of the surgery and also the possibility of error, said doctors.
"Techniques such as computer navigation help in increasing the accuracy of the bone cut but do not allow planning of these before the time of surgery, whereas in PSI, the surgeon can select options prior to the operation," said Dr Malhan.
"This makes surgery more objective, faster and safer for the patient."
However, surgery using PSI costs Rs 40,000 more than a conventional knee replacement surgery.