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Patients who choose to undergo total knee replacement will benefit from the most exciting use of technology in orthopaedics in the last decade, according to Asheville orthopaedist Dr. Tally H. Eddings III. New computer-assisted navigation allows highly trained orthopedic surgeons to achieve precise positioning, sizing and alignment during the procedure, and Dr. Eddings reports that the results are extraordinary.

That precision was difficult to achieve in the past because each person's body is unique. A person's face has things in common with most other faces, but there are countless small differences that make that face function and look like one person and no one else. Knees are like that, too, although the differences may not seem as apparent.

With today's computer technology, there is no guesswork. Dr. Eddings can "see" in real time the mechanical axis of the leg which is unique to each individual. It allows him to map your anatomy and customize the surgery. By constantly referring to the mechanical axis and the patient's unique anatomy, he is able to position and balance the knee more accurately.

This process usually enables him to get the knee positioned perfectly on the first try, as opposed to previous techniques, which often required several "trials." This proper positioning should allow the maximum life of the implant to be achieved. Improper positioning of the knee replacement will lead to rapid failure and is the number one reason for an early revision surgery.

The instruments used in computer-assisted total knee replacement are much smaller than those used with traditional methods. They allow the surgeon to use a minimally-invasive procedure that shortens the recovery period.

The length of the knee incision depends on the body characteristics of the patient, and, while it is a very visible component of the procedure, it is not the most significant. The essential element is the delicate process of replacing the joint.

Computer-assisted total knee replacement is a fairly new procedure and is technically demanding for the surgeon. Dr. Eddings was a leader in the introduction of this innovation to Western North Carolina and has performed numerous successful operations on patients of all ages. He and other leaders in the field of orthopaedics believe this procedure offers patients a new option that will lead to greater comfort and mobility.

He hopes that this information has been helpful. Please direct any questions you may have to Dr. Eddings in the office.