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Surgeon Uses iPod During Joint Replacement Procedures

A doctor in Indiana is one of four in the nation who is using an iPod to help with joint replacement procedures. The iPod system helps make sure the joint replacement implants are well balanced and well aligned when they are put in.

Director of Joint Replacement at St. Francis Dr. Tim Williams says if implants are not properly aligned and balanced, like wheels on a car, they‘re going to wear out quickly.

The procedure involves an infrared camera on a portable stand which surveys the operating area. Williams says the iPod is on a case with three infrared tracking balls which the surgeon uses to mark various points on the joint.

"The camera keeps an idea of where the iPod is in space and we use that to mark various points on the knee," Williams says. "We can also attach infrared balls to the patient or to the instruments that we‘re using to put in and it lets the camera know. This all shows up on the iPod screen."

The system gives measurements on the iPod to make sure everything is properly aligned.

Dr. Williams says, right now, he has using the procedure as a checking point with his normal procedure. He says he wants to make sure the measurements and information he‘s getting is accurate before becoming more reliant upon the procedure.

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