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MAKO Surgical Corp. Message Board

  • iamdeebo831 iamdeebo831 Oct 29, 2012 4:35 PM Flag

    “We have a sister hospital in El Paso with a MAKO machine and a surgeon who is completing 60-70 knee replacements per month.”

    Robotics on the cutting edge of surgery

    Monday, October 29, 2012

    By Colin Harris

    Few people go through life without having to go under the knife at least once. Surgery is among the most stressful and demanding of medical procedures for patients and doctors alike, and even the minutest of advancements in the field constitute a medical breakthrough. Park Plaza Medical Center is on the cutting edge of technology in orthopedic surgery with their purchase of a robotic surgery machine from the MAKO Surgical Corporation.

    Robots have been used in varying capacities in the field of surgery since the mid-1980s. Recently, robots have been used to aid in heart surgery and kidney transplants. For the time-being, Park Plaza plans to focus on partial knee replacement surgeries using their robot.

    “We’re just doing partial knee replacements for a couple of months,” said Park Plaza community relations coordinator Hannah Wilson. “This is sort of a trial phase to see the response from our patients. Right now the focus is on partial knee replacements, but we’re planning on incorporating robotic surgery for other parts of the body.”

    One of the perks of robotic surgery, as compared to manual operations, is that the precise accuracy of the machine can potentially decrease rehabilitation time.

    “Because this is only a partial knee replacement, there is healthy bone and joint tissue that can be saved by only operating on the arthritic parts of the knee,” said Wilson. “Rehab is quicker, because we’re only operating on one part of the knee, which allows the body to heal itself faster.”

    For now, there are seven surgeons at Park Plaza going through the credentialing process to be licensed to operate the MAKO robot, but having the technology could attract other surgeons to seek work there, due to increased turnaround.

    “Potentially, surgeons can complete operations faster, but at the same cost to the patient,” Wilson said. “We have a sister hospital in El Paso with a MAKO machine and a surgeon who is completing 60-70 knee replacements per month.”

    Dr. Stephen Brown is one of Park Plaza’s surgeons adopting the MAKO robotic surgery procedure. He has been an orthopedic surgeon for 10 years and sees robotics as a tool to make surgery more precise with accurate cutting.

    “The robotic route allows for more precision in terms of doing a partial knee replacement,” Brown said. “Previous knee replacement procedures used a saw which is difficult to get in alignment sometimes. With the help of MRIs and other computer imaging we can more accurately operate in a smaller area.”

    The MAKO robotic procedure is still heavily reliant on human control. The surgeon is still responsible for deciding where to cut and remove tissue based on a particular patient’s needs.

    “It’s an assistive tool,” Brown said. “The procedure isn’t completely robotic. The arm of the robot simply guides our hands and makes sure we’re making cuts in the right place on the bone.”

    Brown still has to complete the proctoring portion of his robotic surgery credentialing, though there are three patients already waiting to have the partial knee replacement procedure done with the aid of the MAKO machine in November. Park Plaza Hospital hopes to incorporate hip replacement robotic surgery sometime soon. This new medical breakthrough will no doubt significantly change the way surgery is approached in the future.

    Sentiment: Buy

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