Computer-Assisted Surgery Enables Beginner Surgeons, Under Expert Guidance, to Achieve Long-Term Clinical Results not Inferior to Those of a Skilled Surgeon in Knee Arthroplasty

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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine whether the use of a surgical navigation system in total knee replacement (TKR) enables beginner and intermediate surgeons to achieve clinical PROM outcomes as good as those conducted by expert surgeons in the long term. Methods: We enrolled 100 consecutive patients whose total navigated knee arthroplasty (TKA) was performed in our institution from 2008 to 2010. According to the principal surgeon's surgical experience, the patients were divided into three groups: (1) beginner surgeons, with no more than 30 previous knee replacement performances, (2) intermediate surgeons, with more than 30 but not more than 300, and (3) expert surgeons, with more than 300 knee replacements. Demographic data collected on the cohort included gender, laterality, age, and body mass index (BMI). The outcome measures assessed were Forgotten Joint Score (FJS), implant positioning, limb alignment, and prosthesis survival rate. A margin of equivalence of±18.5 points in the FJS scale was prespecifed in terms of the minimal clinically important diference (MCID) to compare the FJS results obtained in the long period between the groups of interest. Results: The mean follow-up was 11.10±0.78, 10.86±0.66, and 11.30±0.74 years, respectively, for each of the groups. The long-term FJS mean score was 80.86±21.88, 81.36±23.87, and 90.48±14.65 for each group. The statistical analysis proved noninferiority and equivalence in terms of the FJS results reported in the long term by patients in Groups 1 or 2 compared to those in Group 3. More specifcally, it has been proved that the mean diference between groups is within the interval of equivalence defned in terms of the MCID. The overall prostheses survival rate was 93.7%. Conclusion: Navigated assisted TKA, under expert guidance, can be as efective when performed by beginner or intermediate surgeons as performed by senior surgeons regarding the accuracy of implant positioning, limb alignment, and long-term clinical outcome.
CRUE-CSIC (Acuerdos Transformativos 2022)