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February 2012
Featured Story

Robotic Technology Takes Partial Knee Resurfacing to a Higher Level

Orthopedic surgeons at Northwest Community Hospital (NCH) are using robotic-assisted technology in the operating room to treat patients with early- to mid- stage osteoarthritis in the medial, patellofemoral or lateral compartments of the knee. The MAKOplastyŽ partial knee resurfacing procedure is a proven technique that brings together a surgeon's expertise with advanced technology to restore a patient's natural knee motion with as little bone and tissue trauma as possible.

The MAKOplasty procedure takes minimally invasive surgery to the next level with its consistently reproducible precision. Using a highly advanced, surgeon-controlled robotic arm system known as RIO®, surgeons can accurately follow the surgical plan, resulting in the preservation of more healthy tissue and bone as compared to manual partial knee resurfacing techniques. According to Orthopedic Surgeon Rodney Swan, MD, the RIO system requires minimal soft tissue dissection and, therefore, minimizes the risk of blood clots and infection.

Add in a greater level of accuracy when placing and positioning the implant, and the all-around benefit is clear: better outcomes. Patients who elect MAKOplasty experience shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery time, reduced post-op pain, and a more natural feeling knee following surgery.

The RIO robotic arm system supports the surgeon in several ways, both pre-operatively and intra-operatively. First, RIO uses a CT scan of the patient's knee to develop a complete pre-surgical plan that details bone preparation and implant positioning. With this information, RIO produces a three-dimensional virtual model of the patient's bone surface and correlates the image to the pre-programmed surgical plan.

As the surgeon uses the robotic arm, its real-time tactile, auditory and visual feedback limits the bone preparation to the diseased areas of the knee. While the RIO system governs the execution of the surgical plan in the operating room, it's the surgeon's prior surgical experience and familiarity with the instruments that maximize the efficiencies and benefits of the MAKOplasty procedure. Dr. Swan adds that the robotic arm amplifies a good surgeon's expertise while virtually eliminating the possibility for error.

The surgeon can still make adjustments to achieve a more optimal implant placement for individual knee kinematics and soft-tissue balancing. Dr. Swan, who performed the first MAKOplasty at NCH last month, explains how the surgeon interacts with RIO during surgery. "I control the instruments and can make modifications if I think something needs to be adjusted," he says. "Generally, however, the robotic arm will allow only the motion and movement that is required within the pre-defined areas."

Prior to performing a MAKOplasty procedure, surgeons participate in an on-site hospital training session or BioSkills Training course. Both workshops give surgeons a hands-on experience using the RIO system and its computer assisted 3D planning software.

For more information about the MAKOplasty procedure at NCH, medical staff members can contact Karen Colby, RN, MS, NEA-BC, director of Orthopedics, at 847.618.8810, or Diane Ryzner, APN, CNS, OCNS-C, clinical nurse specialist, at 847.618.8845. Information for patients is available on the NCH website here.

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Last Updated 03/15/2012