Computer-aided navigation for arthroscopic hip surgery using encoder linkages for position tracking


  • No conflict of interest was declared.



While arthroscopic surgery has many advantages over traditional surgery, this minimally invasive technique is not often applied to the hip joint. Two main reasons for this are the complexity of navigating within the joint and the difficulty of correctly placing portal incisions without damaging critical neurovascular structures. This paper proposes a computer-aided navigation system to address the challenges of arthroscopic hip surgery.


Unlike conventional arthroscopic methods, our system uses a hyper-redundant encoder linkage to track surgical instruments, thus eliminating the occlusion and distortion problems associated with standard optical and electromagnetic tracking systems. The encoder linkage position information is used to generate a computer display of patient anatomy.


The tracking error from the encoder linkage was evaluated to be within an acceptable range for this tracking prototype, and the new computer-aided approach to arthroscopic hip surgery was applied to a prototype system for concept verification.


This navigation system for arthroscopic hip surgery can be used as a tool to address the challenges of joint navigation and portal placement in arthroscopic hip surgery by visually supplementing the limiting view from the arthroscope. The introduction of a tracking linkage shows significant potential as an alternative to other tracking systems. Positive feedback about the completed demo system was obtained from surgeons who perform arthroscopic proceduces. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.