Wisconsin orthopedic surgeon David Eggert, MD, began performing robot-assisted joint replacement surgeries five years ago after the launch of Stryker’s Mako System and was impressed with the robot’s application for complex cases, according to the Ripon Commonwealth Press.
One such case was a hip replacement surgery in a woman who previously had 40 screws placed in her pelvis after falling and breaking her acetabulum. She felt a lot of pain and developed arthritis after her initial surgery, according to the report.
The complex revision procedure, performed three years ago, was “the perfect application for the robot”, according to Dr. Eggert, who practices at the Fox Valley Orthopedic & Sports Institute in Appleton, Wis.
Using the Mako robot, the surgeon created a scan of the patient that showed where the 40 screws were and how to maneuver the components to avoid them.
“The problem with contact with a screw is that it could potentially create an electrical charge, which could cause the new gasket to come loose,” Dr Eggert told the Hurry. “We could move components a millimeter that way, 2 millimeters that way, so we avoided every screw.”
Dr Eggert said the operation would have been possible without the robot, but with so many screws and a small margin of error, the robot’s precision proved beneficial.
“Can you do it [without the robot]? Sure. But let’s say you start hitting screws. What are you doing? You compromise your plan because you hit those screws, so there will be an increased risk of dislocation,” he said. “Dislocation rates have been shown to be lower when using the robot.
The Fox Valley Orthopedic and Athletic Institute was the first surgery center to offer Mako robot-assisted surgery in northeastern Wisconsin. The practice has grown from performing 150 surgeries a year with the robot in 2017 to nearly 1,500 a year, according to the Hurry.
Dr. Eggert performs between 200 and 225 surgeries per year with the Mako robot.