The Lutheran Health Network Orthopedic Hospital presents a first for northeast Indiana with its robotic arm-assisted joint replacement surgery system.
The system, known as MAKO and used for hip and knee replacements, is now in place at the orthopedic hospital. On January 25, the machine was used during his 50th operation at the medical center. It’s valued at $ 1.6 million per machine, according to doctors at Orthopedic Hospital, 7952 W. Jefferson Blvd.
The technology itself is over 10 years old and has seen more than 80,000 procedures nationwide for total hip and knee replacements, as well as partial knee replacements. FWO surgeon Dr John Manalo was on hand on the day of the 50th procedure to tout the new technology that arrived at the orthopedic hospital late last year.
“Having a joint replacement is really a personal decision for the patient. I tell my patients that when you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, that’s when you should really think about getting a joint replaced, ”Manalo said. “When it drastically affects your daily activities or prevents you from doing the things you want to do. “
The doctor said he saw an increase in the desire to perform these types of procedures during the winter months.
With a regular knee or hip replacement procedure, doctors would use alignment rods to essentially monitor the position of the implants. With this machine, they’re about to tell exactly where the implants are going. The machine will actually stop the instruments from functioning if the physician is more than a millimeter from a plane designed before surgery in a computer system assisted by the use of the patient’s scanner.
Before surgery, this CT scan is downloaded to the computer so that a virtual 3D model can be created. The surgeon will then use this template to identify the appropriate implant size, along with the orientation and alignment down to that millimeter. When preparing the bone for the implant, the machine saw is used in conjunction with computer programming to guide the saw to where it needs to be to make an accurate cut.
Although everything is guided by the computer, it is always the surgeon who will do the intervention. Manalo compares it to something like GPS for the surgeon.
“We know it is more precise than the human hand. We get better cuts and we know exactly to the degree and millimeter where our implants go, ”said Manalo. “He tells us where to go, but we still drive the car. “
Although Manalo sees a learning curve in using the machine, he said it doesn’t add too much time to the overall procedure in the operating room. While he says 35 to 40 minutes is his normal time for a total knee replacement, the machine adds about 20 minutes to his surgery time.
Recovery time is also a key to using the machine. Compared to those who have knee replacements regularly, Manalo said, the machine patients had less pain, less opioid need, less time in hospital, and better functional recovery.