Robotic-assisted Partial Knee Replacement

The orthopedic surgeons at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin offer robotic-assisted partial knee replacement for patients with osteoarthritis.


A Patient's Story: Robotic Partial Knee Replacement



About Partial Knee Replacement


MAKOplasty® partial knee replacement is an innovative treatment option for adults living with early to midstage osteoarthritis in the medial (inner), patellofemoral (top) or lateral (outer) compartments of the knee. It is powered by the RIO® Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System, which allows for consistently reproducible precision in performing partial knee resurfacing.


During the procedure, the diseased portion of the knee is resurfaced, sparing the patient's healthy bone and surrounding tissue. An implant is then secured in the joint to allow the knee to move smoothly again.


Patients Who May Benefit from Robotic-Assisted Partial Knee Replacement


Partial knee replacement surgery is defined as replacement of one or two of the three compartments of the knee. Patients eligible for partial knee replacement, whether robot- assisted or not, generally have less severe arthritis, stiffness or deformity (crookedness) of the knee than patients needing total knee replacement. They also tend to be younger and more active.


UW Health orthopedic surgeons determine the appropriate procedure on an individual basis. 


Benefits of Robotic-Assisted Partial Knee Replacement


The precision of robotic-assisted surgery allows for:

  • More accurate implant positioning, which can result in a more natural feeling after surgery
  • Improved safety and reduced risk of injury to adjacent tissues
  • Small incisions, which can mean a quicker recovery, a shorter hospitalization and less pain
  • The potential for better long-term function

Robotic Technology


Before the procedure, surgeons capture digital computed tomography (CT) scans of your knee. This data allows surgeons to determine where to place the knee implant.


During the procedure, the surgeon uses the robotic arm to precisely shape the surrounding bone before placing the implant. Real-time video images provide visual reinforcement, which helps surgeons navigate hard-to-see areas.


At the same time, the system uses the CT image data to create a predefined, three-dimensional "envelope" of space in which the surgeon works. The robotic arm will only operate in that predefined space, so there is no chance of an instrument slipping and injuring adjacent tissues.


Meet Our Surgeons

Richard L. Illgen II, MD

Dr. Illgen is certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) and has completed specialized training in adult reconstructive surgery (hip and knee replacement). He currently serves as co-director of the Arthritis and Joint Replacement P...

Brian T. Nickel, MD

Dr. Nickel is a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive hip and knee surgery. His expertise includes hip and knee reconstruction and replacement with emphasis on minimally invasive techniques and rapid recovery.&nbs...

Matthew W. Squire, MD, MS

Dr. Squire is an internationally known UW Health joint replacement surgeon. He has performed over 6,000 joint replacement surgeries since starting his orthopedic practice in 2004. In the last 5 years he has performed 3,000 hip and knee replacement su...