Cleveland Clinic London patient receives AR-assisted total knee replacement


Patient undergoes life-changing procedure using an augmented reality-based platform which helps tailor the surgery to their unique anatomy

Cleveland Clinic London has become the first hospital in London to successfully perform a total knee replacement procedure with the assistance of an augmented reality-based surgical platform that was designed with artificial intelligence and machine learning. The surgery aimed to treat the pain and restore the knee function of a patient with advanced osteoarthritis, a common condition for which total knee replacement is often the best course of action.

Mr Panagiotis Gikas of Cleveland Clinic London

Mr Panagiotis Gikas of Cleveland Clinic London

In recent years, augmented reality (AR) has become increasingly beneficial in orthopaedic surgery, enabling surgeons to provide a more personalised approach to patient care. “AR gives a visualisation of the joint that is more dynamic as it is three-dimensional (3D),” said Mr Panagiotis Gikas, the consultant orthopaedic hip and knee surgeon who led the surgical team. “The advanced technology helps with planning the procedure and allows for the best positioning of the implant for each patient during the procedure. The end result is tailored to the unique anatomy and specific needs of each patient.”

Prior to the procedure, Mr Gikas used advanced imaging software to visualise the patient’s knee joint in 3D, evaluate damaged bone and cartilage and determine the ideal implant positioning for their specific anatomy. During the surgery, Mr Gikas wore a pair of augmented reality glasses to view the patient’s knee anatomy in 3D. Two small sensors attached to the patient’s leg provided real-time soft tissue feedback, such as the tension of the ligaments.

Cleveland Clinic has already used AR technology in joint replacement procedures at its main campus in Cleveland, Ohio, particularly for shoulder arthroplasty surgery. The technology has also been adapted by its research scientists and physicians for use in a wide array of other clinical applications, including aortic aneurysm treatment and liver cancer treatment. In 2017, the clinic used AR technology during an extremely complex total face transplant surgery.