New Robotic-Arm Assisted Knee Replacement Surgery Available at Queen of the Valley

January 15, 2020 Providence News Team

Robotic armSt. Joseph Health, Queen of the Valley Medical Center is excited to announce it has launched a new, innovative robotic option for knee replacement surgery as part of its orthopedics program. On Tuesday, January 7, John Diana, M.D., performed the first Mako robotic-arm assisted total knee replacements at Queen of the Valley.

“At Queen of the Valley, we strive to provide the best experience possible and we are proud to now offer this advanced, less invasive option that can provide a higher degree of accuracy to our patients,” said Larry Coomes, chief executive officer.

Total knee replacements in the US are expected to increase 673 percent by 20304. This new technology can offer knee replacement patients a shorter hospital stay with better, more predictable outcomes. Patients who need a total or partial knee replacement due to trauma or any type of arthritis in the knee joint are candidates for Mako surgery.

Prior to Mako surgery, a CT scan of a patient’s knee joint is taken and uploaded into the Mako System where a virtual 3D model of the patient’s bone anatomy is created. During the surgery, the 3D model serves as a roadmap that can be referenced and adjusted if necessary. By controlling the Mako’s robotic-arm, the surgeon can expertly remove damaged bone and cartilage within the pre-defined area and align the knee implant and precisely position it in place.

This robotics technology serves as a guide, ensuring the surgeon’s arms are in the appropriate plane so that incisions are perfect every time. According to Dr. Diana, the Mako’s robotic-arm provides a computer-guided cutting pathway which enhances the surgeon’s precision. With the human eye, a surgeon can cut to a precision of around 1-2 millimeters; with the Mako, the surgeon can achieve pinpoint precision (within .1 mm of the plan).

“The Mako helps the surgeon achieve excellent alignment and balance which can be assessed through a smaller incision in the knee joint. This helps ensure the knee functions optimally and can help patients attain a faster recovery,” said Dr. Diana. “I have noticed that patients who have robotic-arm assisted surgery have more consistent results at six weeks after surgery compared to patients who have traditional surgery.”

For patients in need of a partial knee replacement, surgeons can target only the damaged part of the knee, sparing and protecting the healthy bone and ligaments surrounding the knee joint. The technology for partial knee replacement has been available for more than a decade and studies have shown robotic-arm assisted partial knee replacements are two to three times more accurate than manual versions of the procedure,[1],[2],[3] and reduce the need for a subsequent surgery.

The system was fully funded by donations from Napa community members to Queen of the Valley Foundation during the Generous Heart gala which raised more than $1 million on September 21, 2019.

“We are grateful to our community members for their giving. Their contributions have allowed us to purchase this advanced technology. We are thrilled to be able to offer robotic-assisted knee replacement surgery to our patients. This technology will only enhance and expand our medical staff’s capabilities,” said Elaine John, chief philanthropy officer, Queen of the Valley Medical Center.

[1] Dunbar NJ, Roche MW, Park BH, Branch SH et al. Accuracy of Dynamic Tactile-Guided Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty. Journal of Arthroplasty. May 2012. 27(5): 803-808.e1.

[2] Lonner, JH. Robotic-arm assisted unicompartmental knee arthroplasty. Seminars in Arthroplasty. 2009;20(1): 15-22.

[3] Lonner JH, John TK, Conditt MA. Robotic arm-assisted UKA improved tibial component alignment: A pilot study. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2010;468(1):141-6.

4. Kurtz AAOS. Total knee and hip replacement projections 2030. Accessed July 4, 2016.


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