Since Jan. 26, 2015, the day of the first robotic joint replacement at Williamson Medical Center, we have performed more than 250 procedures with the RIO® Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopaedic System (MAKO robotic technology).
After only 18 months, our program serves as the cornerstone program in our region. In fact, we are the only MAKO training site in the region. Regularly we host visiting surgeons to WMC who scrub in with me to observe these robotic procedures. Some have come from Tennessee and Georgia, but our visitor who traveled the farthest was from Australia. Given the program’s success, I have also been asked to lecture and train surgeons on cadaveric specimens in Kentucky, Michigan, New York, New Jersey and Florida.
So why does all of this matter? Because this piece of equipment (“the robot”) allows a surgeon to perform joint replacement precisely, every time. This level of precision can not be duplicated without robotic assistance. We have moved from millimeter precision to sub-millimeter precision and the MAKO robot allows us to get the joint aligned perfectly, every time. And, every surgeon wants every case to be perfect.
As I have offered my patients this technology, no one has declined. Patients ultimately trust us as their surgeons – and nothing should come in between. MAKO does not. I, as the surgeon, am in complete control during the entire procedure but use the robot as a tool. Think of it like a GPS system – it will not drive the car for you, but will take you to just the right spot.
Currently, the MAKO robot can be used for partial knee replacements and total hip replacements; however, plans are in the works to perform total knee replacements with the robot here soon. Hopefully, by October or November of this year, we will be able to offer the total knee platform – as a regional leader for the technology, we will be the first.
Interestingly, the FDA approved the robot for total knee replacements last year given the success of prior robotic procedures – specifically, partial knee replacements and total hip replacements. Since total knee replacement is the most common joint replacement performed in the U.S., we are excited to add this to our robotic portfolio here at WMC.
Leading the way
Every time I discuss the robot with my patients, I mention how Williamson Medical Center is dedicated to delivering the best of the best. They are proving that stance with the acquisition of the robot, the Accelerated Recovery Program, specialized equipment to facilitate anterior hip replacement and so much more. These advances allow some patients to go home the same day, if not the next. We want to deliver these advancements in a responsible way, and WMC is our partner in that.
In truth, we have developed a unique program that is not duplicated in our region. No other center can offer the full portfolio that we offer. This allows us to right size the process to each individual patient.
Our program continues to evolve and grow. From a few hundred cases per year to now that many in a month or two, we simply do not do it the way we used to. Incremental improvements to nearly all facets of the process have been the key to success. The approaches are new, anesthesia and pain control is better, and technology offers unprecedented precision. We are able to blend all these elements to optimize each patient’s outcome.
To some, we have transcended what we could have hoped for with our joint replacement program at Williamson Medical Center.Share this Article