Robotic technology improving knee surgeries - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Robotic technology improving knee surgeries

The Mako robotic arm assists orthopedic surgeons with joint replacement surgeries. (Source: KPLC) The Mako robotic arm assists orthopedic surgeons with joint replacement surgeries. (Source: KPLC)

More demand on our bodies and living longer means more wear and tear on our knees.  That is why knee procedures top the list of orthopedic operations today.

Robots are now able to help in the operating room, with the exact placement of implants for joint replacements.

It has been a long road to being pain-free for Kyleen Simon after an injury at work.

"I got my foot caught in a pallet," she said.  "I was trying to fall gracefully and it didn't work."

That was several years ago.  Initially, Simon had a torn meniscus.  She tried therapies and injections, but nothing was a permanent fix.

"It got to the point where I couldn't even walk at work," said Simon.  "It felt literally like you had a bag of sand that you were carrying.  Just the weight was so heavy when you were walking."

Simon knew surgery was the next option and that is where orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Steven Hale, with Imperial Health Center for Orthopedics came into the picture.

"She had severe bone-on-bone arthritis," said Dr. Hale.  "You can compare that to her other knee where there's a little bit of space remaining between the two bones, whereas on the left side, the two bones are literally touching."

Because of Simon's age and injury, she did not need a total knee replacement.  Dr. Hale opted for a partial knee replacement with the help of Mako, a surgeon-controlled robotic arm, that allows him to basically map out the surgery before the operation happens.

"We get a CT scan and then we use trackers on the patient's body during surgery to allow us to put the components in in exactly the position we want to put them in before we've even begun the surgery," said Dr. Hale.

That exact precision is thanks to intelligent surgical instruments and robotic guidance.

"It allows us to minimize the amount of bone we resect," said Dr. Hale, "which allows for them to maintain as much normal bone as possible and it allows the components to be in exactly the perfect position for the longest lifespan of the components."

For patients like Simon, that is many years of life and activity restored to her through one procedure.

"I was walking that same day and went home the next," she said.  "I actually went back to work two weeks later.  I wasn't at full scale.  I did sit for a little bit and take lighter duties for a little bit, but I'm at work right now."

Surgeries with the Mako system are performed at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital in Lake Charles.

To learn more about robot-assisted joint replacements, check out a free seminar on Thursday, September 8.  It's at 5:30 P.M. at Center for Orthopedics on Imperial Boulevard in Lake Charles.  CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital is handling registrations over the phone, by calling 800-831-1796.

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