Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology

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Robotic arm-assisted knee and hip replacement is a relatively new technology and tool I am excited about. I believe this is the future of joint replacement because it allows the surgeon to know how the implant will fit your joint before we enter the operating room. I also think this technology will create less post-surgical pain because less soft tissue stretching is needed to accomplish the operation successfully and safely. It's been my impression that patients who have undergone robotic arm assisted knee replacement have had less pain compared to those who have undergone knee replacement without the robotic arm. This has not been true for all patients, but for some, it definitely has.

The other benefit is that registry (long term study) data shows robotic technology for partial knee replacement surgery is more accurate than manual or traditional surgery, resulting in less early failure of the replacement joint, and therefore, less chance for additional surgeries. We do not have data for total knee available at this time, but the current thinking is that the data will show superiority in some way.

Utilizing the Mako robotic-arm assisted knee replacement (partial or total) allows for an unparalleled level of accuracy and precision for joint replacement. It allows for a personalized, custom surgical plan and implantation that is unique to your anatomy. 

How it works:

First, a CT scan of your arthritic knee joint is taken. This CT scan is uploaded into the Mako System software and then a 3D model of your knee is created. This 3D model is used to create a pre-surgical plan by performing the knee replacement virtually on a computer screen before you even enter the operating room.

 CT scan of a knee that is loaded into the MAKO robotic software

CT scan of a knee that is loaded into the MAKO robotic software

 3D model of the knee made from the CT scan

3D model of the knee made from the CT scan

In the operating room, we will have your personalized surgical plan ready to go. However, before your joint surface is prepared, I assesses your knee's range of motion and 'balance' in real time.  The digital screen in the operating room places a virtual knee replacement on your joint during that assessment to show me how your knee will behave with the implant in place. Then, specific and small adjustments are made to how the implant should be positioned in order to match the implant to your specific knee. Once satisfied with how the implant fits on the computer, the robotic arm is given the final position of the implant. Finally, the robotic arm in brought in, and under surgeon control and direction, the knee joint is precisely prepared so that the virtual plan on the screen is turned into a real plan. This allows for an implant that fits specifically to your knee, bone, ligament, and tendons.  This technique should allow for less pain, improved fit, and ultimately improved satisfaction and longevity of your knee replacement. The operation does take a few minutes longer than a non-robotic knee replacement and extra time is spent in the planning phase of the operation.