In the United States, more than 1 million surgeries are performed annually to replace worn-out knees and hips, and that number is only expected to grow in the coming years as the population ages. Total knee replacements in the U.S. are expected to increase 673 percent by 2030, yet studies have shown that approximately 30 percent of patients are dissatisfied after conventional surgery.
Thanks to an innovative robotic-arm-assisted technology, Mountain Vista Medical Center in Mesa and St. Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix are among the first hospitals in the Valley to offer a highly-advanced reconstructive surgery option for total knee and total hip replacements.
“This is changing the way that joint replacement surgeries are performed,” said Dr. Andrew Wellman, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon on the medical staff at Mountain Vista Medical Center. “Using a virtual 3-D model, we can create a surgical plan for each orthopaedic patient before entering the operating room. During surgery, we can validate that plan and make any necessary adjustments, while guiding a robotic arm to execute that plan.”
The Mako Total Knee application is a knee replacement treatment option designed to relieve the pain caused by joint degeneration due to osteoarthritis. Through CT-based 3-D modeling of bone anatomy, surgeons can identify the implant size, orientation and alignment based on each patient’s unique anatomy. This gives surgeons the opportunity to virtually modify their plans during an operation, and assists in executing bone resections.
After losing her footing while doing the “Twist” in the front row of a Chubby Checker concert, 72-year-old Jerri Boswell learned that not only did she tear her ACL, but she also had early stages of arthritis in her knee that was only going to get worse. The Scottsdale resident recently had a total knee replacement at St. Luke’s Medical Center. “I was initially somewhat concerned about my surgery being done robotically,” said Boswell. “However, the results and recovery were amazing, and were nothing like what I expected after hearing stories from my friends. I didn’t have to take any pain medicine after three days, and had almost complete flexion after just two weeks. ”
Using a robotic arm in surgeries appears to be here to stay due to the multiple benefits to surgeons and patients. “Each patient receives a personalized surgical experience based on their specific diagnosis and anatomy, bringing a high level of accuracy and predictability to the procedure,” said Dr. Brandon Gough, an orthopaedic surgeon on the medical staff at St. Luke’s Medical Center. “The combination of these features has the potential to lead to better outcomes and higher patient satisfaction rates.”
The Mako Total Hip application is a treatment option for adults who suffer from degenerative joint disease of the hip. During surgery, the surgeon guides the robotic arm during bone preparation to prepare the hip socket and position the implant according to a pre-determined surgical plan. In cadaveric studies, Mako total hip replacement has been shown to be four times more accurate and reproducible than manual total hip replacement procedures.
Forty-eight-year-old James Gounaris, a Laveen resident, was the first patient to have a total hip replacement using the Mako Total Hip procedure at Mountain Vista Medical Center. He only had a two-day hospital stay. Today he’s walking a mile to his local gym to work out.
“The day I returned home, I was able to walk up the 18 stairs of my two-story home with little-to-no assistance,” said Gounaris. “Of course, I was on bed rest for a few days, but what really surprised me was that I was never on any type of pain medication at the hospital, or even once I returned home – not even Advil. All I needed was ice packs for the pain, which I thought was rather remarkable. I’m looking forward to getting back into the outdoor activities I enjoy, like mountain biking, road cycling, running and hiking.”