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If you’re one of the millions of Americans suffering from pain caused by arthritis or an injury to the knee, and you haven’t experienced adequate relief with conservative treatment options, your doctor may recommend partial or total joint replacement surgery.
While many patients prefer not to think about surgery, the good news is that knee replacement has come a long way in the past decades. One of these state-of-the-art advancements, now available from orthopedic surgeons at the UVM Medical Center, is Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery™.
What Is Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery?
UVM Medical Center Surgeons are able to provide each patient with a more personalized surgical experience based on their specific diagnosis and anatomy when they use the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery™ technology.
How it works:
The first step is surgical planning. Before surgery, a CT scan of your knee is taken. This CT scan is uploaded into the Mako System software to develop a 3D virtual model of your unique joint. Your doctor uses this model to evaluate your bone structure, disease severity, joint alignment and even the surrounding bone and tissue, so they can determine the optimal size, placement and alignment of your implant.
Using robotic-arm assisted surgery doesn’t mean a robot is conducting the procedure. Your surgeon is at your side throughout the surgery, with ultimate control of the system’s robotic arm.
In the operating room, your surgeon guides the robotic arm to execute your personalized surgical plan. The technology provides real-time data to your surgeon that allows them to continuously validate your plan and make any necessary adjustments, such as assessing the movement and tension of your new joint. A virtual boundary also provides tactile resistance to help the surgeon stay within the boundaries defined in your surgical plan.
What are the benefits of Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery™?
Using the robotic-arm enables our surgeons to provide a more predictable joint replacement surgical experience. Overall, the expectation is that robotic-assisted knee surgery will lead to less time in the hospital, less pain and faster recoveries, although recovery times can vary based on patient-specific factors.
Additional potential benefits are as follows:
- The system allows for better adjustments and refinements during an operation.
- The precision and accuracy provided by robotic-arm-assisted surgery makes it easier in some cases to retain the posterior cruciate ligament during a total knee replacement.
- Once surgery begins, the system sets what are called “haptic boundaries” that assist the surgeon so they won’t inadvertently stray from the plan. Some research shows this can result in less soft tissue damage because the saw is staying within these particular boundaries.
- “Press fit” knee implants, which don’t require cement to adhere to the bone, can be used with Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted surgery. Cementless implants could last longer, making them more appealing for younger patients.
Talk to your orthopedic surgeon at UVM Medical Center to find out if Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery is right for you.