An Overview of Mako Robotic Joint Replacement Surgery
Over 790,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed each year in the United States. A knee replacement is a kind of joint surgery. Joint surgeries have evolved over the years and more are being performed with the assistance of robotic devices, like the Mako robotic arm.
Dr. Joel McClurg, an orthopedic surgeon at Reid Health, has over 8 years of experience with Mako robotic-assisted surgery and remains enthusiastic about what this technology is bringing to healthcare. "New technology, like robotics, along with skillful surgeons, is revolutionizing the practice of medicine." The Mako has helped hundreds of thousands of patients since its introduction in 2004 as a new joint replacement technology. 2020 saw even more patients benefit from the Mako technology, and additional advancements are expected in 2021.
We're taking a closer look at Mako robotic joint replacement surgery and if it could be right for your joint surgery.
When do you need joint replacement surgery?
Joints are where the ends of two or more bones meet one another, such as the knee, elbow, wrist and shoulder. There is cartilage—a jelly-like tissue—in joints between the bones that help them bend and move smoothly. Over time, the cartilage between bones can wear down.
When the cartilage between joints has worn down to the point where it causes the bones to rub against one another, resulting in inflammation, swelling, pain and loss of range of motion or mobility, action is often necessary. When damaged joints prevent you from engaging in daily tasks, joint replacement surgery may be recommended.
How do you find out if you need joint replacement surgery?
After discussing your symptoms with your primary care doctor, they will have you schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. The orthopedic surgeon will have you come in for an office visit and evaluate your range-of-motion, degree of damage to your joint, strength and stability using an exam and X-rays. After assessing, your doctor will recommend whether or not you would benefit from joint replacement surgery and the best approach for you.
What happens during joint replacement surgery?
When you have a joint replaced, your doctor will remove damaged bone and cartilage and replace it with an artificial joint made from metal alloys, plastics or polymers. There are several kinds of joint replacement surgery, including:
- Total Joint Replacement - A damaged joint is replaced with an artificial joint implant that mimics the joint's natural motion.
- Minimally Invasive Total Joint Replacement - This joint replacement surgery uses smaller incisions and cuts through less muscle to replace the damaged joint.
- Robotic-Assisted Joint Replacement Surgery - In robotic joint surgery, an interactive robot can provide the surgeon with real-time visual and tactile feedback throughout the procedure to optimize precision and correct placement of the joint.
- Joint Revision - Artificial joints don't last forever. Eventually, they will need to be replaced through a joint revision, which is surgery to remove an infected, worn-out, or failed artificial joint and replace it with a new one.
Your doctor will assess which joint replacement procedure is best for you. Newer technologies are being more widely utilized every day to improve accuracy and shorten recovery time, including the Mako robotic-arm system.
What is Mako robotic joint replacement surgery?
The Mako is an interactive robotic arm that allows a surgeon to see and feel the joint during surgery, which helps your doctor perform a procedure with increased accuracy and speed.
How does Mako robotic surgery work?
A 3D image of your joint is captured on a CT scan. This image is used as a map for the surgery, allowing your doctor to see in precise detail where the joint is damaged and plan how to repair it. During the procedure, Mako provides your doctor with real-time visual and tactile feedback, ensuring the most accurate surgery, as well as increasing speed and efficiency.
What kind of joint surgeries can use the Mako robotic arm?
The Mako robotic arm can be used in robotic knee replacement surgery, partial knee replacement and total hip replacement surgeries. A technology expansion in 2021 is expected to add total shoulder replacement to the list of procedures that can use the Mako. Reid Orthopedics will be among the first in the nation to offer this procedure.
What are the benefits of robotic joint replacement surgery?
Robotic knee surgery, hip surgery and shoulder surgery offer increased precision, reduced amounts of analgesics, shorter procedure times and faster recovery times compared with traditional joint replacement surgeries.
When should I have joint surgery?
Your doctor will recommend the appropriate time and method of surgery for you. However, a recent study shows that patients who had joint replacement surgeries while their mobility was still good were able to recover more quickly after surgery compared to patients who delayed surgery.
Where can I learn more about robotic knee replacement surgery?
Talk with your orthopedic and sports medicine doctor for more information on robotic joint surgery, including Mako knee surgery. Reid Health recently added a second Mako robot, providing surgeons with the ability to schedule patients for a joint replacement procedure sooner. To schedule an appointment at Reid Health, call (765) 935-8905 or request an appointment online.