One of Dr. Kenneth A. Krackow’s current major interests in the field of total knee arthroplasty (or replacement) is the development and implementation of computer assisted total knee surgery. This includes techniques classified as navigation, and also those involving robots.
Dr. Krackow’s undergraduate and graduate education in mathematics, and an interest in computer science became a natural platform for the performance of total knee replacement research that led to the development of a system for computer assisted total knee replacement. The world’s first publication of a complete total knee replacement on an actual patient was authored and led by Dr. Krackow. This background work led to the development of a commercially available infrared computer assisted total knee navigation system distributed by the Stryker Corporation of Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Some of the first robotically executed total knee replacements performed in Europe were the direct result of Dr. Krackow’s collaboration with Integrated Surgical Systems of Davis, California, producers of the RoboDoc Total Hip equipment. Dr. Krackow provided an outline for their execution software, and facilitated (in Buffalo, New York) the first sessions using adult cadavers; first in the laboratory, and then in actual operating rooms. Software and Hardware engineers traveled from California, while a group of orthopaedic surgeons from Germany joined in Buffalo for these sessions. These activities were the necessary developmental stages for the first uses of this equipment in Germany.
These navigational and robotic techniques hold promise for improving the accuracy, reproducibility, and functionality of total joint replacements. TKR in particular is a procedure in which accuracy of alignment and component placements to within 1 to 2 degrees and 1 to 2 millimeters is extremely important.
Dr. Krackow and his colleague Matthew Phillips, M.D. (also at Buffalo General Medical Center) are both involved as designers of hip and knee prosthetics, and designers of prosthetic instrumentation.