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What is Robotic-Assisted Knee Replacement?

During knee replacement surgery, worn out or damaged sections of the knee joint are removed and replaced with artificial implants. In a robotic total knee replacement, surgeons employ computed tomography (CT) scans to construct a virtual model of the patient's knee. With that model as a guide, the surgeon then utilizes the robotic arm to place the components of the new knee accurately. Andrew R. Noble, MD provides diagnosis and minimally invasive knee replacement surgery using robotic-arm technology in Jupiter, FL.

What is Arthritis?

The knee is made up of the femur (thighbone), the tibia (shinbone) and the patella (kneecap). The two menisci, the soft cartilage between the femur and tibia, serve as a cushion and helps absorb shock during motion. Arthritis (inflammation of the joints), injury or other diseases of the joint can damage this protective layer of cartilage, causing extreme pain and difficulty in performing daily activities. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis.

Indications of Robotic-Assisted Knee Replacement

Robotic-assisted knee replacement is indicated if you are suffering from degenerative knee diseases such as advanced or severe osteoarthritis. Knee replacement surgery is indicated if non-surgical treatment options have failed to relieve your symptoms.

Your surgeon will determine if you are a candidate for robotic assisted surgery based upon the anatomy of your knee, alignment, and knee range of motion.

Robotic-Assisted Knee Replacement Procedure

The goal of total knee replacement surgery is to relieve pain and restore the alignment and function of your knee. Robotic-assisted knee replacement MAKO utilizes X-rays and CT scans to determine the damaged areas of the joint that need to be removed for the precise placement of the knee implant. Then, the damaged portions of the femur bone are cut at appropriate angles using a saw that is controlled by the robotic arm. The femoral component is attached to the end of the femur with or without bone cement.

Your surgeon then cuts the damaged area of the tibia (shinbone) with the assistance of the robotic arm based upon the pre-determined CT plan. This removes the deformed part of the bone and any bony growths, as well as creates a smooth surface on which the implants can be attached. Next, the tibial component is secured to the end of the bone with or without bone cement, based upon bone quality.

Your surgeon will place a plastic piece between the implants to provide a smooth gliding surface for movement. This plastic insert will support the body’s weight and allow the femur to move over the tibia, like the original meniscus cartilage.

To make sure the patella (kneecap) glides smoothly over the new artificial knee, its rear surface is also prepared to receive a plastic component. All these steps are performed with the help of the robotic arm.

With all the new components in place, the knee joint is tested through its range of motion. The entire joint is then irrigated and cleaned with a sterile solution. The incision is carefully closed; a drain may be inserted and a sterile dressing is placed over the incision.

Benefits of Robotic-Assisted Knee Replacement

The benefits of the robotic-assisted knee replacement include:

  • CT and computer planning of surgery
  • Robotic assisted cutting of bone for more accuracy
  • Computer assisted balancing of ligaments
  • Precise placement of the implant
  • Reduced injury to adjacent tissues
  • Possibly increased longevity of the implant

Click this link to learn more about MAKO robotic assisted total and partial knee replacement.