Secure online access to Cleveland Clinic's specialists for over 1,200 medical diagnoses, nutritional consultation and pre-adoption advice

Cleveland Clinic News  The latest from our experts

What’s Behind the Amazing Accuracy of Joint Replacement Surgery?

Hip ReplacementAre you considering a joint implant to relieve your knee, hip or shoulder pain? For joint replacement surgery to be successful, surgeons have to make precise cuts in the damaged bone before implanting an artificial joint.

Accuracy and proper alignment are two critical aspects of this process, says orthopedic surgeon Joseph George, MD. “Several things go into the planning of a well-done joint replacement, but it begins with balance and accuracy,” he says.

If you’re getting a knee replacement, for example, there’s a gap between your bones when your knee is straight and when it’s bent.

“The art of doing a knee replacement is making sure those gaps match,” Dr. George says. “If they don’t, you will have looseness in the range of motion at some point. This can lead to instability and pain.”

Improper alignment or rotation can also cause issues with your knee cap, he says. For these reasons, surgeons need to stay sharply focused on accuracy when cutting away damaged bone and aligning and positioning the new joint.

Tools for more accurate joint replacement