Hospital uses robot to build better knee

Though it sounds like a scene from an episode of the television classic “The Six Million Dollar Man,” surgeons at University Medical Center in Lebanon now have the technology to make people better…stronger…faster. Using a recently purchased RIO Robotic Arm Interac...
Sep 21, 2012
Making A Better Knee  Photo: Dallus Whitfield

University Medical Center surgeon Dr. Jon Cornelius demonstrates a knee replacement procedure Thursday using the hospital's new robotic surgical arm system.

 

Though it sounds like a scene from an episode of the television classic “The Six Million Dollar Man,” surgeons at University Medical Center in Lebanon now have the technology to make people better…stronger…faster.

Using a recently purchased RIO Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System, surgeons at the hospital are now able to perform a new, minimally invasive partial knee resurfacing procedure called MAKOplasty.

And the procedure is far less than $6 million for patients.

“We are proud to be the only hospital in Middle Tennessee with the RIO Orthopedic System,” said hospital Chief Executive Saad Ehtisham. “Two of our board-certified orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Jon Cornelius and Dr. Damon Petty, are excited about performing surgeries using the robot and the benefits it allows for their patients. We’re always trying to do more for our patients, and now, patients requiring joint replacement have a more advanced alternative to traditional knee surgery.”

Cornelius said the procedure can allow for optimal implant positioning, which results in a more natural feeling knee after surgery. And since it is minimally invasive, he said the procedure results in faster recovery and a shorter hospital stay than traditional knee replacement surgery.

He said most patients have an overnight stay in the hospital, but for some, the procedure is out patient. There’s about a two-three-week recovery, but many patients return to work after five-six days.

“The principles of this operation haven’t changed,” Cornelius said. “…There are so many checks and double checks and starts and stops again. It’s a very precise procedure.”

The robotic arm system features three-dimensional, pre-surgical planning, as well as providing the surgeon with real-time visual, tactile and auditory feedback to facilitate optimal joint resurfacing and implant positioning. Cornelius said it’s the optimal placement that can result in more natural knee motion after surgery.

During the procedure, Cornelius said the damaged part of the knee is resurfaced, sparing the patient’s healthy bone and surrounding tissue. He said an implant is then secured in the joint to allow the knee to move smoothly again.

“What I love about the RIO is that I get the results I plan for with accuracy,” Cornelius said. “I tell my patients to think of the robot as an intelligent and precise tool. I also like to reassure them that I am in control the entire time.”

As a knee arthroplasty procedure, Ebitisbam said most Medicare-approved and private health insurers cover the procedure.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the procedure in 2006, and the first surgery was performed in 2009. University Medical Center had its first surgery using the new procedure in August. The nearest hospital to Lebanon that performs the procedure is in Knoxville.

To further educate the public about this new procedure, University Medical Center will play host to three educational seminars with Cornelius as the featured presenter. Participants will learn how the robotic arm allows surgeons to resurface the affected area of the knee while leaving healthy bone and tissue intact.

The first seminar will be in October, and those wanting to know more or to register may call 615-449-8621.

Jared Felkins may be reached by calling 615-444-3952 or via email at jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com.

 

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