UW Health Now Offers Robotic-Assisted Partial Knee Replacement

MADISON - Considering partial knee replacement for osteoarthritis? UW Health now offers a new, state-of-the-art way to perform the procedure using robotic technology.


The technology-MAKO Surgical Corp.'s RIO® Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System-works as a smart extension of the surgeon's hand. A team of UW Hospital and Clinics orthopedic specialists with experience in high-volume partial knee replacements leads the program.


Because each knee is different, surgeons determine the appropriate procedure on an individual basis. Patients eligible for partial knee replacement, whether robot-assisted or not, generally have less severe arthritis, stiffness or knee deformity than patients needing total knee replacement. They also tend to be younger and more active.


Before the procedure, doctors capture digital computed tomography (CT) scans of the knee. The image data goes into the RIO's computer, which generates three-dimensional pictures of the knee's anatomy, helping surgeons determine exactly where to place the implant.


During the procedure, physicians use a burr-tipped robotic arm to precisely shape the surrounding bone before placing the implant. Real-time video images provide the surgeons visual reinforcement, helping them navigate hard-to-see areas.


At the same time, the system uses the CT image data to create a three-dimensional "envelope" of space for surgeons to work in so there is no chance of an instrument slipping and injuring adjacent tissues.


The RIO's precision offers patients more accurate implant positioning, which can result in a more natural feeling after surgery, and physicians predict better long-term function. And, the incisions are smaller, which in most cases means a quicker recovery and less pain.

Date Published: 03/05/2010

News tag(s):  richard l illgenortho

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