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MAKO Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery

Orthopedic surgeons at UT Health Tyler offer new options to patients who have osteoarthritis in their knee but may not need total knee replacement surgery. The MAKO Partial Knee Resurfacing robotic system combines the ability of CT scanning to map out the patient’s anatomy with a system that guides the surgeon, allowing for more precise positioning of the prosthetic implant.

The minimally invasive robot-assisted system offers better results with quicker recovery to qualified patients.

Good candidates for the MAKO partial knee procedure have these characteristics:

  • knee pain on the inner knee, under the kneecap or on the outer knee when active
  • knee pain or stiffness when initiating activities from a sitting position
  • failure to respond to nonsurgical treatments such as rest, weight loss, physical therapy and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
“They compared patients who have had the MAKO partial knee with the robot versus patients who had the regular partial knee replacement, and those with the robot have had better long-term success.” – Joseph Conflitti, MD, orthopedic surgeon

The New Gold Standard

Traditionally, partial knee replacement surgery is less invasive than total replacement procedures, and the patient can retain healthy cartilage, ligaments and other tissue. However, partial knee procedures can be more challenging for surgeons – even a slight misalignment can mean a prosthesis that is short-lived or “feels wrong” to the patient. Because of this, many patients choose to receive a total knee replacement, which has a high satisfaction rate but could mean replacing a lot of healthy tissue.

With the MAKO system, your surgeon selectively targets the part of your knee damaged by osteoarthritis and can resurface your knee while sparing the healthy bone and ligaments surrounding it – only getting rid of the painful areas with robotic-guided precision that begins with imaging before the surgery.

Dr. Joseph Conflitti, an orthopedic surgeon at the UT Health Tyler Orthopedic Institute, explains how the high-tech system helps improve care. “We can map out the person’s anatomy with the CT scanner before surgery, then the CT scanner info is downloaded into the robotic system. During the surgery we can map out the knee as we see it, and those two images are mirrored, giving us a perfect projection of what the patient’s anatomy actually is. Then we can make very precise cuts to align that implant exactly how we had planned it preoperatively.”

Benefits for the patient

The combination of 3-D scanning and robotically guided cutting helps the physicians create a better joint than was previously possible.

For the patient, surgery with the new system offers several benefits, including

  • smaller incision
  • less scarring
  • reduced blood loss
  • shorter hospital stay
  • quicker recovery
  • a more natural-feeling knee after less-invasive surgery

For more information, call the UT Health East Texas Orthopedic Institute at 903-596-3844.