Robotic-assisted surgery: A new option in hip and knee procedures

This piece is brought to you by Sanford Health.

Robotics and 3-D modeling are changing the way hip and knee replacement surgeries are done at Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine.

The procedure – known as Mako robotic arm-assisted surgery – starts with a simple CT scan of the hip or knee joint. The image is then used to build a virtual 3-D model, which is loaded into the Mako software system.

Then the surgeon uses the system to develop a personalized plan for the patient’s procedure.

“The Mako system allows surgeons to perform more precise surgery in total hip and total knee and partial knee replacements,” said Dr. Timothy Walker, orthopedic surgeon at Sanford. “It’s another tool that surgeons can use to help patients recover faster and have a better, longer-lasting replacement.”

During the procedure, the surgeon guides the robotic arm based on the pre-operative plan with computer assistance. This technology allows the surgeon to remove bone and position the hip or knee implant with the highest level of accuracy.

“There are a lot of targets we’re trying to hit during hip and knee replacements,” said Dr. Dustin Bechtold, orthopedic surgeon at Sanford. “This technology lays out a predetermined plan to follow during surgery and helps surgeons provide the most accurate placement and alignment of an implant according to the treatment plan.”

How it helps

The focus is on providing patients relief with the least risk and fewest potential complications.

The robotic-assisted total hip replacement may provide a variety of benefits including:

  • Accurate placement of the hip implant, which can reduce the chance of hip dislocation.
  • More consistency in leg length, potentially decreasing the need for a shoe lift.

“I’m most excited to use this technology for partial knee replacements,” Bechtold said. “With increased precision and placement, we may be able to offer partial replacements to patients who previously may have tried a scope with too much arthritis or waited until the arthritis was bad enough to warrant a total replacement. The Mako technology is bringing an innovative new approach that could allow even more patients to find relief from their knee pain.”

Other potential benefits of robotic-arm assisted partial knee replacements include:

  • Resurfacing only the arthritic portion of the knee.
  • Preserving healthy tissue and bone.
  • A more natural-feeling knee after surgery.
  • Quicker recovery and shorter hospital stay.

The Mako technology will be used for other surgical procedures in the future, but Bechtold said he’s excited for what it offers his patients today.

This is a new and unique tool for the people in this region,” he said. “Although not needed for every patient, Mako technology is one more way to help patients who struggle with joint pain return to a more active, enjoyable lifestyle.”

Learn more about Mako robotic-assisted surgery here.

Robotic-assisted surgery: A new option in hip and knee procedures

Robotics and 3-D modeling are changing the way hip and knee replacement surgeries are done at Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine.

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