Review article Total knee arthroplasties from the origin to navigation: history, rationale, indications, Saragaglia, Rubens-Duval, Gaillot, et al. International Orthopaedics (SICOT) (2018).
Since the early 1970s, total knee arthroplasties have undergone many changes in both their design and their surgical instrumentation. It soon became apparent that to improve prosthesis durability, it was essential to have instruments which allowed them to be fitted reliably and consistently. Despite increasingly sophisticated surgical techniques, preoperative objectives were only met in 75% of cases, which led to the development, in the early 1990s, in Grenoble (France), of computer-assisted orthopaedic surgery for knee prosthesis implantation. In the early 2000s, many navigation systems emerged, some including pre-operative imagery (“CT-based”), others using intra-operative imagery (“fluoroscopy-based”), and yet others with no imagery at all (“imageless”), which soon became the navigation “gold standard”. They use an optoelectronic tracker, markers which are fixed solidly to the bones and instruments, and a navigation workstation (computer), with a control system (e.g. pedal). Despite numerous studies demonstrating the benefit of computer navigation in meeting preoperative objectives, such systems have not yet achieved the success they warrant, for various reasons we will be covering in this article. If the latest navigation systems prove to be as effective as the older systems, they should give this type of technology a well-deserved boost.