Doctors Use iPod Touch to Aid Knee Replacement Surgery

A team of doctors at the Breach Candy Hospital on the coastline of South Mumbai have successfully performed three surgeries using the DASH Smart Instrument System, a new app for the iPod Touch that aims to make hip and knee replacement surgery a little easier. Apps that make the iPod Touch much more than a portable MP3 player are nothing new, but this is taking the ubiquitous gadget to a new level.

The app also provides how-to guides and video tutorials for clinicians. A companion to a larger system designed by Smith & Nephew with Brainlab, the app has been designed by physicians and healthcare professionals to perform quick calculations and measurements during procedures that would otherwise need to be done by the surgeon while operating. "This is said to reduce the learning curve and, at least in India, lessens the certification process for surgeons performing replacement procedures," according to the Unofficial Apple Weblog. "Operating times are also reduced."

Brainlab, a software-driven medical technology company that employs hundreds of engineers in offices all over the world, describes the system:

Central to Dash is the easy-to-use handheld device with touchscreen interface (iPod touch) that works remotely with the mobile platform and infrared camera to provide surgeons with accurate and intuitive guidance through each procedure. This, combined with the ability to make interactive fine-tune adjustments to the surgical instruments, provides the surgeon with a high-precision and portable tool for the accurate placement of artificial knee and hip implants.

The app is awaiting approval for use in the United States.

For more technical information about the iPod Touch application and the larger system being used to perform these surgeries, watch the video embedded below:

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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