A technology that provides more precise surgical cuts for joint replacements is now offered at CHI St. Luke’s–The Vintage Hospital. The Mako Robotic Arm, a product of medical technology company Stryker, provides assisted surgery for total hip, total knee and partial knee surgeries with minimal error.
“All of our alignments and cuts are done within less than one millimeter of error,” said Dr. Michael Blackwell, an orthopedic surgeon at the hospital. “This leads to better alignment of the artificial joints, so the outcomes and the longevity of the joints are much better.”
Patients have also reported less postoperative pain, he said.
First introduced to the hospital in April, the robotic arm will have performed about 30 surgeries at The Vintage by the end of this month, Blackwell said. The Vintage hospital, located at 20171 Chasewood Park Drive, Houston, is the first of the CHI St. Luke’s hospitals to use the robotic arm, he added.
Surgery begins with a CT scan of the patient’s joint, which is used to generate a 3D model. This virtual model is then loaded into the Mako system software to create a personalized pre-operative plan, according to Stryker’s website.
The Mako system then guides the surgeon within the predefined area, helping to prevent the surgeon from moving outside the planned boundaries. The system also allows the surgeon to make adjustments to the plan during surgery as needed.
“Using the robot is like using a modern-day GPS,” Blackwell said. “Without the robot, it’s like using an old-fashioned road map.”
The first Mako procedure was a partial knee replacement performed in June 2006, according to the company’s website.