The loss of the firm, resilient cartilage that surfaces the bones in your knee is what constitutes arthritis and can cause pain, stiffness, swelling and ultimately, limited mobility. This condition of degenerative or osteoarthritis may primarily affect only one region of your knee (inside aspect, outside aspect, and kneecap joint) rather than the entire joint. When conservative management fails, the replacement of those worn surfaces offers the best option to resolve your pain and return you to an active lifestyle.
An innovative new option has become available (Makoplasty) which harnesses the precision of a robotic arm (RIO – Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System). Prior to surgery, a CAT scan (Computerized Axial Tomography) is obtained which is able to generate an extremely accurate 3D reconstruction of the specific contours of your particular knee including any deformities. The CAT scan information is loaded into the robot’s computer. Prior to surgery, the location and extent of bone resection can be precisely mapped and a myriad of adjustments made to the position of the implants well before the surgery takes place. These refinements permit the optimal position, alignment and orientation to be achieved.
During the operation, a minimally-invasive approach is made to expose the knee surfaces. Tracking towers are affixed to the thigh and lower leg bones to permit precise navigation of the position and orientation of the knee joint surfaces using technology similar to a GPS system. Once the computer registers the exact position of your knee joint surfaces, the robotic arm controls the position of the resection burr and removes exactly the amount of bone from each surface that has been pre-operatively programmed into the computer. After trials are used to verify optimal placement, a metal runner is cemented onto the thigh bone and a metal tray onto the upper surface of the leg bone. A space-age plastic spacer is then inserted into the tray to complete the partial knee replacement.
You are able to weight bear as tolerated the day following surgery. Range of motion improves rapidly and ambulating without the use of a walker is often achieved within several weeks. The accurate positioning and alignment of your new knee components optimize the durability and range of motion which is achieved. With all of your natural ligaments preserved, your robotically implanted knee replacement tends to feel relatively normal.