By Tracy Ng, D.O.
He’s in his 60s and has always been athletic, enjoying golf or tennis nearly every day. Lately, though, pain in his knee is so intense and constant that he needs a long-term, surgical solution to regain an active lifestyle.
For many people, such a diagnosis means undergoing partial or total knee replacement. Fortunately, robotic-assisted surgery performed at Venice Regional Bayfront Health allows enhanced precision that can mean better outcomes for joint replacements.
Here’s how it works.
The patient undergoes a preoperative CT scan. A technician loads the CT data into a computer, and I review the information to create a preliminary surgical plan. In the operating room, the computer directs me in mapping the patient’s knee using a probe that transmits the information to the computer navigation system.
The process creates a very reliable, three-dimensional model of the patient’s knee, in much the same way that engineers design products today, or an architect designs a building. With the design programmed into the robot’s computer, I guide the robot’s surgical arm to remove bone by the millimeter.
In partial knee replacement (PKR), we save healthy bone and remove only damaged bone. Then we implant the artificial partial knee. The entire procedure typically takes under 90 minutes and usually requires no hospitalization.
Not everyone is a candidate for PKR, however. It is not suitable for people with massive deformities or extensive knee damage from arthritis or injury. People who have had ligament damage around the knee also may not be candidates for PKR.
The process for robot-guided surgery for total knee replacement is similar to PKR, but we resurface the joint and place the full knee implant.
The main benefit in using the robot is precision. With the 3-D model and our surgical plan loaded into the computer, we can align the joint for a better fit, greater comfort, and longer wear for the “new” knee. Sensors applied to the leg around the joint help us to see in real time the range of motion the patient may expect after surgery.
For people experiencing knee pain that limits their mobility, this surgery can be life-changing by helping them return to an active lifestyle. Our online assessment can help determine if you may be a candidate for joint replacement surgery.
To start your free assessment, visit http://bit.ly/VeniceJointPainAssessment.
Tracy Ng, D.O., is fellowship-trained in sports medicine and arthroscopy – a minimally invasive procedure for diagnosing and treating joint problems. She performs robot-guided surgery for partial and total knee replacement as a member of the medical staff at Venice Regional Bayfront Health.
Venice Regional Bayfront Health
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