The procedure is usually geared toward younger, more active patients who would likely outlive a traditional joint replacement, leaving them with considerable incapacitation. Resurfacing is a less drastic form of joint replacement than traditional arthroplasty.
In hip replacement surgery, resurfacing involves shaving off the damaged cartilage on the head of the leg bone, and replacing it with a metal cap - instead of cutting off the head and end of the bone and replacing them with a prosthesis.
Resurfacing ultimately allows the patient greater mobility and range of motion. In this sort of surgery, however, the implants must be inserted with great precision to avoid excessive strain on the healthy bone tissue that remains. Surgeons have always been challenged to do this unaided.
"The three-dimensional advantage of the CT scan is incorporated into the design to create a customized form that increases accuracy and efficiency in the [operating room]," says Dr. John Rudan, orthopedic surgeon at Kingston General Hospital and professor of surgery at Queen's University.
In addition, Rudan is vice president of clinical relations at iGO Technologies Inc., the Kingston-based company that helped develop the customized surgical-planning software. "The virtual representation in this form of computer-assisted surgery allows for better reproducibility and a reduction in errors."