The Role of Intraoperative Navigation in Orthopaedic Surgery

Alexa J. Karkenny, MD; Joseph R. Mendelis, MD; David S. Geller, MD; Jaime A. Gomez, MD


J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2019;27(19):e849-e858. 

In This Article


Intraoperative navigation has been used throughout orthopaedics, but tremendous variation can be seen in the clinical usefulness, acceptance, and volume of research across the subspecialties. Translating supposed benefits into improvement in clinical outcomes has been successful in some practice settings and subspecialties more than others. Based on the authors' interpretation of the literature, evidence for the use of navigation is strong in the areas of spine and oncology, moderate in arthroplasty, and weaker in trauma and arthroscopy. The recurring theme is the goal of improving surgical technique and outcomes, but as with any new technology, inherent concerns about navigation systems are valid. These modern tools will continue to evolve, and providers must adapt current practices with the knowledge of risks and benefits for each individual subspecialty and application.