More successful placement of knee replacements thanks to robotics

(09-02-2022) In his doctorate, Stijn Herregodts examined how knee replacements can be made without damaging the surrounding soft tissues.

The knee is a heavily loaded joint that is sensitive to the development of osteoarthritis. In cases of advanced osteoarthritis, the only treatment option is the placement of a knee prosthesis . In order to improve the success of this procedure, computer and robotic assistance are increasingly used during the operation. These methods have been proven to increase the accuracy of the procedure.

"Nevertheless, abnormalities and unwanted soft tissue damage can still occur when cutting the bone during the procedure," Stijn says.

"In response to these shortcomings, I have developed a new technique for performing bone resections using a robot-controlled bone cutter. This technique makes it possible to adaptively detect and follow the edge of the bone during the milling process," Stijn explains.

"At the same time, the milling cutter is permanently shielded from the soft tissues to avoid unintentional damage to these tissues. Furthermore, by optimising the bone milling technique, the accuracy was improved and the heating of the bone was reduced, while the procedure could be performed just as quickly compared to conventional techniques," Stijn concludes.

The full doctorate will only be available from 2026 due to an embargo

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PhD Title: Development of a Robot-Assisted Soft Tissue Protecting Technique for Performing Bone Resections in Total Knee Arthroplasty

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Contact: Stijn Herregodts, Patrick De Baets, Matthias Verstraete, Jan Victor

Stijn Herregodts

Stijn Herregodts obtained his Master of Industrial Science in Electromechanical Engineering in 2011. After his experience as an R&D engineer in the industry, the ambition to work on more innovative projects motivated him to add the degree of Master of Science in Electromechanical Engineering to his curriculum, which he achieved in 2015. During his master’s thesis he developed calibration techniques for a knee joint pressure measurement system and received the ie-net award for best master thesis.

After obtaining an FWO grant, he started his research on robotic techniques for knee arthroplasty. To facilitate this research, he designed and constructed a complete robotic laboratory setup. After in depth research on existing technologies, a novel robotic approach was developed and validated with the developed infrastructure. The promotors of the work were Jan Victor, Patrick De Baets and Matthias Verstraete. Stijn is author of several scientific publications and inventor of two patents resulting from his research. Moreover, his research was presented at various national and international conferences.

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Editor: Jeroen Ongenae - Final editing: Ilse Vercruysse - Illustrator: Roger Van Hecke